Support Amnesty International over Catholic Church


by Sunny
22nd August, 2007 at 2:27 am    

Cath Elliot wrote an important article for CIF yesterday, highlighting the Catholic Church’s condemnation of Amnesty International. She explains:

After over two years of discussion and debate, Amnesty International finally announced last week that it will be campaigning for women to have access to abortion in cases of rape, incest or violence, or where the pregnancy jeopardises a mother’s life or health. This is a huge step forward for women’s rights worldwide, especially in areas of conflict where rape is employed as a weapon of war or as a tool for ethnic cleansing.

Unsurprisingly, this decision has led to an outpouring of condemnation from religious bodies, most notably from the Roman Catholic church.

The decision by the Catholic Church to condemn AI is a serious one, and almost a call for a boycott.
The organisation’s position is that, “it would work to “support the decriminalisation of abortion, to ensure that women have access to heathcare when complications arise from abortion and to defend women’s access to abortion . . . when their health or human rights are in danger.”

That, is a principled position and one of letting women regulate their own lives.
Cath points out:

What the bishop and his church fail to understand is that forcing a woman to continue with a pregnancy against her will is a continuation of the violence against her.

For how much longer is the Catholic church going to regard the “human life in a woman’s womb” as being of more importance than the human life that possesses a womb?

Well said. But such attacks on abortion rights by the Catholic Church are increasing. Janine at Stroppyblog points out that the RMT union is submitting two resolutions to the Scottish TUC Women’s Conference deploring the views of Cardinal Keith O’Brien who spoke out against abortions.


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  1. soru — on 22nd August, 2007 at 10:41 am  

    What the bishop and his church fail to understand is that forcing a woman to continue with a pregnancy against her will is a continuation of the violence against her.

    Similarly, forcing a policeman to treat a suspect humanely against their will is a continuation of the violence against society.

    Why do so many people think if they rephrase their underlying metaphysical assumptions in a clever enough way, they will somehow become rationally persuasive to people with different beliefs?

    Some people think that people can, by their actions, lose the right to be treated as human beings. As such, they can be restrained, trained, pampered or even put down based on whatever the current best thinking is from experts in criminology (or counterinsurgency).

    A person with those beliefs is hardly likely to join Amnesty. You are not going to find some clever form of words that will persuade such a person to join: at best you can avoid the issue and collaborate on unrelated causes.

  2. Katherine — on 22nd August, 2007 at 11:20 am  

    The Catholic Church and the Catholic press’s attacks on AI over this issue are deeply dishonest. Whilst the TWO YEAR consultation was going on, they were going on about AI campaigning for a “right to abortion” which was, at best, an extreme misunderstanding of the questions being asked.

    It will come as little surprise to AI members that the Catholic Church is opposed even to the limited policy that has been adopted. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the policy adopted was to start research into the area at some point and will form a pretty damn small part of AI’s wide ranging work. It was also, as ever, concentrate on serious violation of human rights – e.g. the use of rape as a weapon of war in Darfur, where the Catholic-friendly option of adoption really isn’t a realistic one.

  3. Jay3gsm — on 22nd August, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

    Quote: For how much longer is the Catholic church going to regard the “human life in a woman’s womb” as being of more importance than the human life that possesses a womb?

    The Catholic Church doesn’t value one life over the other, the change in AI policy now shows THEY do. Whilst many will view this change in policy by AI as a “Huge step forward in the rights of women worldwide” it is a massive step backwards in the rights of unborn children.

    Why do people continually put the rights of the born over the rights of the unborn? Not being born does not and should not deny someone their rights to life, and their right to respect as a human being. Human rights FOR ALL, not a selective few.

  4. Katherine — on 22nd August, 2007 at 1:39 pm  

    “Human rights for all” does rather beg the question of what counts as “human”, does it not? You do see that, yes? Ditto definitions of “life” and “children”. I think one major question you should ask yourself is why your subjective belief of what counts as human life should take precedence over anyone else’s.

  5. Tim Worstall — on 22nd August, 2007 at 1:44 pm  

    “I think one major question you should ask yourself is why your subjective belief of what counts as human life should take precedence over anyone else’s.”

    Quite. Might be why an oganisation dedicated to the support of human rights shouldn’t take a stance on the issue as well.

  6. Sunny — on 22nd August, 2007 at 2:13 pm  

    Quite. Might be why an oganisation dedicated to the support of human rights shouldn’t take a stance on the issue as well.

    Because provision of abortion facilities is a human rights issue.

  7. ChrisC — on 22nd August, 2007 at 2:36 pm  

    “For how much longer is the Catholic church going to regard the “human life in a woman’s womb” as being of more importance than the human life that possesses a womb?”

    I would rather say that they are of equal value. Which is why abortion – the killing of one of those lives – can only be justified IMO when the mother’s life is in obvious danger should the pregnancy continue.

  8. Leon — on 22nd August, 2007 at 2:38 pm  

    Said it before, will say it again; I’m resolutely pro choice (don’t call the other side pro life because that’s an absurd term, they’re anti-choice) on this issue.

    It’s a womens right to choose simple and plain and no bloody religioun has the right to decide what she does with her body.

  9. Cath — on 22nd August, 2007 at 2:51 pm  

    Hi Sunny, thanks for this.

    Tim – “Might be why an oganisation dedicated to the support of human rights shouldn’t take a stance on the issue as well”

    I really don’t understand this argument, and it’s been raised on the blog following my piece as well. As Sunny has pointed out, access to abortion is a human rights issue, so unless human rights means human rights for everyone except women, why on earth shouldn’t Amnesty take a position on this?

  10. Jay3gsm — on 22nd August, 2007 at 2:56 pm  

    Leon – it is everybody’s right to do what they want, within reason. Reason, for example, could be breaking the law. Reason, for example, could be if it leads to the loss of the life of another.

    When a woman aborts, it may well be ‘her’ body but it is *also* the life of another she affects with her choice. It is no longer just her body. There is another human being growing inside, and the rights of that human are no less important than any other.

    ChrisC – Even if the mothers life is in danger, she/we/society should not and in my eyes cannot justify the death of another. Killing one human to save the life of another is not justifiable.

  11. Katherine — on 22nd August, 2007 at 2:57 pm  

    Amnesty is campaigning for something that its membership (the majority of) agree with. It is not a state. Jay3gsm would have his view taken on by the state and imposed on people with different beliefs to his own. Amnesty’s stance that women should be able to make their own choice is the very opposite of that.

    This is all quite apart from the practical fact that making abortion illegal does not stop it happening – it merely makes it far more dangerous. But that is not something usually acknowledged by those who would have their personal views imposed on the bodies and lives of women by the state.

  12. Katherine — on 22nd August, 2007 at 3:00 pm  

    Jay3gsm, you seem to be wilfully missing a major point – you think it the life of a human being, others don’t. You think a human life is created at the moment of conception (at least, I assume that’s what you mean, and not “contraception”, which is what you actually said), others disagree. I ask again, why should your view take precedence over that of the actual person in question?

  13. Jay3gsm — on 22nd August, 2007 at 3:24 pm  

    Oops, big typo there, I did mean conception. :-)

    It’s not just ‘my’ opinion. It is a medical fact that life begins at conception. As that person is alive, then they deserve the same rights as any human being. Not yet being born should not be a bar to having rights of that individual recognised. Why are the rights of the unborn any less important to people?

    I don’t see it as a case of forcing my view, I see it as trying to open the eyes to the slaughter of innocent life. And I don’t apologise for the dramatic sense of the words, it literally is mass slaughter of innocent life.

    Why do people find that so acceptable?

  14. Leon — on 22nd August, 2007 at 3:29 pm  

    It is medical fact? Provide some evidence please.

    Conception is a bio chemical process, it is a collection of cells not a ‘life’, a ‘child’ and certainly not a ‘human’.

  15. Ravi Naik — on 22nd August, 2007 at 3:30 pm  

    “It’s a womens right to choose simple and plain and no bloody religioun has the right to decide what she does with her body.”

    I find the two extremes equally distasteful: the rigid version of the Catholic Church (although I believe they are open to cases where women’s health is an issue), and others who say that women have the right to “choose simple and plain”. It is anything but simple or plain.

    “you think it the life of a human being, others don’t. You think a human life is created at the moment of conception, others disagree. I ask again, why should your view take precedence over that of the actual person in question?”

    Does it really matter if people say it is not a human life? Would things be any different if people admitted otherwise? I don’t think so. It is just a matter of people not feeling remorse, because honestly the only people with credibility to answer these questions belong to the scientific community, not me or the actual person in question.

  16. The Common Humanist — on 22nd August, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

    With Sunny and Leon on this.

    Catholic doctrine is a bitter bitter farce on many issues. Quite how you get the ediface of the Catholic Church from Jesus’s Ministry is quite quite bizarre.

    I’ll side with AI over the Catholic Church any day of the week.

    The Catholic opposition to contraception is evil. There is no other word for it. The Catholic Church’s opposition to contraception

  17. Cath — on 22nd August, 2007 at 3:35 pm  

    Jay3gsm – “It is a medical fact that life begins at conception. As that person is alive, then they deserve the same rights as any human being”

    It is not a person, it is a collection of cells with the potential for life. If life began at conception we would be in mourning every time a woman had a late period for god’s sake.

    “it literally is mass slaughter of innocent life”

    And you literally are taking things too far.

  18. Sunny — on 22nd August, 2007 at 3:36 pm  

    The Catholic opposition to contraception is evil. There is no other word for it. The Catholic Church’s opposition to contraception

    Exactly.

  19. The Common Humanist — on 22nd August, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

    With Sunny and Leon on this.

    Catholic doctrine is a bitter bitter farce on many issues. Quite how you get the ediface of the Catholic Church from Jesus’s Ministry is quite quite bizarre.

    I’ll side with AI over the Catholic Church any day of the week.

    The Catholic opposition to contraception is evil. There is no other word for it. The Catholic Church’s opposition to contraception IS THE CAUSE OF MORE ABORTIONS then if they relaxed their idiotic stance.

    As to when life begins….at conception we are talking potential life. Many conceived foetus’s (or more accurately conjugated cell clusters) are aborted without the mothger knowing due to a whole host of medical reasons, for example, imperfect implantation of the womb wall etc etc.

    So no, abortion is not murder. It is certainly the end of potential life but that happens naturally anyway quite often so I don’t really see what the fuss is about.

    Now, once the cells develop into a foetus, now then the situation is quite different and am no fan of any abortion over, I think, 12 weeks.

    The bottom line is that the Catholic Church – bunch of men – imposing its will on women – often in patriachal societies where womens education and options can be limited. That I find utterly disgusting.

    So Jay3gsm, get your religious imperialistic tanks off the lawn of womens reproductive rights!

  20. The Common Humanist — on 22nd August, 2007 at 3:41 pm  

    Sorry. Having browser problems!

    TCH

  21. Jay3gsm — on 22nd August, 2007 at 3:52 pm  

    Leon:
    Medical Textbooks and Scientific Reference Works

    Dr. Bradley M. Patten’s textbook, Human Embryology, states, ” It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatazoan and the resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that…marks the initiation of the life of a new individual.” – Bradley M. Patten, Human Embryology, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 1968) 43

    Dr. Louis Fridhandler in the medical textbook Biology of Gestation, refers to fertilization as “that wondrous moment that marks the beginning of life for a new individual.” – L. Fridhandler, Gametogenesis to Implantation, ” Biology of Gestation, Vol. 1 ed. N.S. Assau (New York: Academic Press, 1968) 76

    Time and Rand McNally’s Atlas of the Body states, “In fusing together, the male and female gametes produce a fertilized single cell, the zygote, whch is the start of a new individual.” – Time Magazine and Rand McNally, Atlas of the Body (New York: Rand-McNally, 1980) 139, 144

    Encyclopedia Britannica, says, “A new individual is created when the elements of a potent sperm merge with those of a fertile ovum, or egg.” – “Pregnancy,” The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed. Macropedia, Vol. 14 (Chicago: Encyclo. Brit., 1974) 968

    Prominent Scientists and Physicians:

    The late Dr. Jerome LeJeune, Professor of Genetics at the University of Descartes in Paris, and discoverer of the genetic cause of Down Syndrome said, “After fertilization has taken place and a new human being has come into being. It’s no longer a matter of taste or opinion, and not a meta-physical condition, it is plain experimental evidence.” – Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981)

    Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, Harvard University Medical School: It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.” – Ibid

    Professor Hymie Gordon, Mayo clinic: “By all criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.” – Ibid

    Ashley Montague, Geneticist and Professor at Harvard and Rutgers, who is unsympathetic to the pro-life cause, said clear, “The basic fact is simple” Life begins not at birth, but conception.” – Ashley Montague, Life Before Birth (New York: Signet Books, 1977) vi

    Dr. Landrum Shettles served twenty-seven years as attending obstetrician-gynecologist at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. He was a pioneer in sperm biology, fertility, and sterility and is internationally famous for discovering male-and female-producing sperm. His intrauterine photographs of pre-born children appear in over fifty medical textbooks. Dr. Shettles states, “I oppose abortion…because I accept what is biologically manifest–that human life commences at the time of conception–and…because I believe it is wrong to take innocent human life under any circumstances. My position is scientific, pragmatic and humanitarian.” – L. Shettles and D. Rorvik, Rites of Life: The Scientific Evidence of Life Before Birth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. 1983) 113

  22. Jay3gsm — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

    The Catholic opposition to contraception is evil. There is no other word for it.

    First, the Catholic Church is only opposed to artificial contraception. Artificial contraception is intrinsically evil

    It’s quite easy to go from Jesus to the Catholic Church, after all it is the Church He started.

  23. Sunny — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

    Jay – copying and pasting is easy, anyone can do it.

    My question is – what gives you or the Catholic Church the right to interfere in the decision another woman makes?

    Let me take another example… do you contribute to helping children who have Down’s syndrome? If you’re so obsessed about other people’s lives, then surely the Catholic Church and people like yourself should be doing more to help living kids who live in extreme poverty? Or do your concerns stop once the person is born?

  24. Sunny — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

    Artificial contraception is intrinsically evil

    Why?

  25. Katherine — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

    Jay3gsm – I’m afraid that all you have done is posted a number of articles by people who agree with you. You must be aware that a large number of people (including scientists, doctors and theologians) disagree? There is clearly no consensus on this, or anything close to one.

    And alas you have ignored the more practical point that making abortion illegal does not make it stop, or even close.

  26. Jay3gsm — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:20 pm  

    So I copied the information from an email I sent out a while ago? Whether I copied and pasted or wrote that all manually, it supports my argument of life beginning at conception. What difference does it make?

    My personal giving to others is of no concern to this thread, but as you asked, I often do works of charity, for various concerns, all through the Church. Be that for children, adults, male, female, it makes no difference. I don’t see anything wrong in being concerned with others, and offering support where needed. I don’t discriminate for any reason.

  27. Jay3gsm — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:22 pm  

    You asked for support of my argument, I provided it. What more should I have done?

  28. The Common Humanist — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:23 pm  

    Jay
    “First, the Catholic Church is only opposed to artificial contraception. Artificial contraception is intrinsically evil”

    - there are no natural methods of contraception. There is a name for people who attempt natural methods. It is usually ‘Dad’ or ‘Mum’. Joking aside, how can artificial contraception be ‘evil’?

    “It’s quite easy to go from Jesus to the Catholic Church, after all it is the Church He started”

    Er…no. Its the Chruch that grew from Peter, the first Bishop of Rome and its structure and Doctrines are as much a product of the politics therein then the contents of the New Testament – or put another way – what the early catholic church decided Jesus said/meant.

  29. Jay3gsm — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:23 pm  

    And on top of that, I am blocked from replying to the posts here. Maybe someone took issue with what I said.

  30. The Common Humanist — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

    Jay,
    How about addressing my point, that the CC blind adherence to its evil opposition to artificial contraception actually causes abortions rather then prevents them?

  31. Cath — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:33 pm  

    Did I miss something? Where did he go?

  32. Rumbold — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

    The real question is whether Amnesty International should be campaigning for this sort of thing at all. Amnesty originally had one laudable aim; the fair trial and fair treatment of prisoners of conscience. There are still enough of those around for Amnesty to concentrate on. I am ‘pro-choice’, but I would prefer to hear this argument from abortion groups, not Amnesty. It has now become an organisation, while still achieving good thing, which lobbies for things like universal healthcare and education- this should not be its role; others can do that.

    As for the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to contraception, I strongly disagree with it. I think contraception is a great idea, and should be promoted. However, I would have trouble classing the papist stance as evil- they believe that they are protecting the lives of children (hardly evil, rather misguided and damaging).

  33. Bleh — on 22nd August, 2007 at 4:36 pm  

    It’s a womens right to choose simple and plain and no bloody religion has the right to decide what she does with her body.

    Amen!

    (if you’ll pardon the pun)

    This point cannot be restated firmly enough. Its the Women’s right to choose what she does with her body. Any man trying to tell her what to do should be ashamed of himself- he’s not a man, he’s just a mysoginistic bully.

  34. The Common Humanist — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:01 pm  

    Rumbold.
    They deliberatley and knowingly choose to push a doctrine that makes peoples lives much much worse.
    Thats evil.

    I have alot of experience with development and the best thing we could do with catholic, and I use the term loosely, ‘development agencies’ and cahrities, is round them up and leave them in Greenland. Just anywhere AWAY from the developing world. I bear them no illwill personally, its the net impact of their work I take issue with.

    I mean, given the prevalance of HIV in Africa, the CC stance on condoms is unpardonable.

  35. The Common Humanist — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

    Shoudl have read ‘charities’

    Damn these thick fingers!

  36. Sunny — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:03 pm  

    Sorry, the spam system is taking in his messages for some reason and blocking them as spam. I don’t know why that is, I’m trying to clear them through.

  37. ChrisC — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:08 pm  

    “This point cannot be restated firmly enough. Its the Women’s right to choose what she does with her body. Any man trying to tell her what to do should be ashamed of himself- he’s not a man, he’s just a mysoginistic bully.”

    No.

    It’s not just her body, is it?
    Otherwise we would not (perhaps you don’t) put a time limit on abortion.

    Now, legal abortion is probably the lesser of two evils. But let’s not paper over reality by using phrases like “what she does with her body” as if it was equivalent to having a brazilian. It is not.
    It is killing. It may be the lesser of two evils, but it is still killing.

  38. Jay3gsm — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:16 pm  

    Some of my messages got blocked, I thought I’d been censured :-)

    I don’t want to get into a discussion here on this thread about the teachings of the Catholic Church. I would be happy to take it up via email though. (Only because I’m assuming this isn’t the right place for such a discussion)

    The point I would make here is simply that all life is valuable. Removing a baby for any reason is wrong. And never can a wrongful act achieve something good.

    When a woman is pregnant, it is no longer just her body. She has to consider the child, too, to do otherwise is at best sheer selfishness.

    NFP is the Catholic teaching on contraception, check it out.

    And Peter was authorised by Christ to build His Church.

  39. Sunny — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:20 pm  

    When a woman is pregnant, it is no longer just her body.

    No it’s still her body. What gives others jurisdiction over her body?

  40. Cath — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:21 pm  

    ChrisC – “It is killing. It may be the lesser of two evils, but it is still killing.”

    You can’t kill something that isn’t alive.

  41. ChrisC — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:21 pm  

    PS – of course the Catholic position on contraception is certainly peverse and has, if not evil intentions, certainly evil consequences.

  42. ChrisC — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:22 pm  

    “You can’t kill something that isn’t alive.”

    At what stage of pregnancy does life begin?

  43. Katherine — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:28 pm  

    Rumbold – “It has now become an organisation, while still achieving good thing, which lobbies for things like universal healthcare and education” – Amnesty International does not lobby or campaign for things like universal healthcare and education, so I don’t where you got that from. It’s general basis for campaigning are international human rights legal instruments – such as the UNHCR, CEDAW and many others.

  44. Katherine — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

    Jay3gsm, actually the point was not that you cannot support your position – clearly many people think the same way as you – but that you cannot PROVE it. Why then should your views have more strength than anyone else’s? You have consistently failed to address that point, which makes me think that your argument is simply that you think it is wrong therefore everyone else should conform to that.

    And you still haven’t been able to touch on the point that making abortion illegal doesn’t stop them happening.

  45. Cath — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:38 pm  

    Jay – “When a woman is pregnant, it is no longer just her body”

    Whose is it then? It’s certainly not the Catholic Church’s.

    You have a right to your own beliefs, so if you don’t believe it’s right for you to ever have an abortion, fine, don’t have one. But don’t tell women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies.

    ChrisC – “At what stage of pregnancy does life begin?”

    When the foetus is capable of independent life outside of the womb. Some would argue at no stage of the pregnancy but the end, when the baby draws its first breath.

  46. Rumbold — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:40 pm  

    The Common Humanist:

    “They deliberatley and knowingly choose to push a doctrine that makes peoples lives much much worse. Thats evil.”

    I take your point. However, they believe that they are saving millions of childrens’ lives.

    Katherine:

    “Amnesty International does not lobby or campaign for things like universal healthcare and education, so I don’t where you got that from.”

    http://web.amnesty.org/pages/poverty-index-eng

    “No-one should be denied their rights to adequate housing, food, water and sanitation, and to education and health care.

    Laudable aims, but the campaigning should be left up to other groups.

    On a side note, I went to the Aga Khan’s exhibition of Islamic art at the Ismaili Centre in South Kensington today- well worth going to, especially as it is quite small and you can take it in in an hour or so.

  47. Katherine — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:55 pm  

    I’m afraid Rumbold that you are misinterpreting that part of the Amnesty web page. That is a repetition of the right expressed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – Articles 11 and 13. Reports or statements made by Amnesty on these subject have included, for example, opposition to forced evictions in Angola.

    Amnesty is not campaigning for universal healthcare and education – you are just wrong about that. If you really want to know what they are campaigning on in the field of the ICESCR, then look out for the Human Dignity campaign next year.

  48. Ravi Naik — on 22nd August, 2007 at 5:56 pm  

    “My question is – what gives you or the Catholic Church the right to interfere in the decision another woman makes?”

    Fortunately, long are the days when the Catholic Church actually had a final say on private matters. As a Catholic, I find their opposition to condoms totally unacceptable and I cannot understand their position under any light. However, their opposition to abortion is understandable, even if I find it unfair to victims of rape and incest.

    “Let me take another example… do you contribute to helping children who have Down’s syndrome? If you’re so obsessed about other people’s lives, then surely the Catholic Church and people like yourself should be doing more to help living kids who live in extreme poverty? Or do your concerns stop once the person is born?”

    I know the topic here is anti-catholic bashing, but I think the Catholic church does have considerable work in areas with extreme poverty. I am with AI on this one, because I believe a women that is raped, or was a victim of incest, does not need to carry the burden.

    But I am wary of women who commit abortions just plain and simple… even if you don’t have any moral quarrels with it, isn’t abortion a health hazard for women?

  49. ChrisC — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:00 pm  

    “When the foetus is capable of independent life outside of the womb. Some would argue at no stage of the pregnancy but the end, when the baby draws its first breath.”

    Well – I don’t know who these “some” might be, but it is rather difficult to argue that aborting at the last minute is anything other than killing.

    The line is of course arbitrary. (Though wherever it is, medical advances are constantly bringing it forward.) And if the very last minute is killing then unfortunately, in logic, so is the very first.

    I support legal abortion as the lesser of two evils.
    But killing is what it is.

  50. Katherine — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:02 pm  

    I hate to break it to you Ravi, but it is far more dangerous to the woman concerned to continue with a pregnancy than to terminate it.

  51. Katherine — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:05 pm  

    I wouldn’t say the line is arbitrary, Chris C, but it is certainly fuzzy. As it happens, the point at which a foetus can realistically survive outside the womb is around the same time as the brain and nervous system have pretty much developed – coincidence?

    As for “killing”, well I’d say that is another question of definition isn’t it?

  52. Jai — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:05 pm  

    I find the two extremes equally distasteful: the rigid version of the Catholic Church (although I believe they are open to cases where women’s health is an issue), and others who say that women have the right to “choose simple and plain”. It is anything but simple or plain.

    Exactly. If people are talking about abortion in the cases of danger to the mother’s life, or extreme cases such as the child being a result of rape, incest etc, then that’s a different matter.

    However, problems arise when you have diametrically opposing viewpoints where one party insists on “no abortion or even contraception, regardless of the circumstances”, and the other party insists that the woman has “the right to terminate the life of her child regardless of her reasons for doing so”. Both are misguided and can have very negative repercussions, and the latter really does start treading on very dangerous ground from a moral standpoint when we’re talking about terminations for reasons of “convenience” or (to give an Indian example) because the child is the “wrong” gender.

    It’s not a black-and-white issue, as Ravi accurately said, despite the pro-choice-no-matter-what and anti-choice-no-matter-what extremists at both ends of the argument.

    Does it really matter if people say it is not a human life? Would things be any different if people admitted otherwise? I don’t think so. It is just a matter of people not feeling remorse,

    I think that two situations arise here, depending on the specific person:

    1. They may not feel any remorse because they genuinely believe that the zygote/foetus/developing baby isn’t actually “alive” in the true sense at the time that they decide to have the termination. This belief may be a result of either misinformation or their own interpretation of the scientific facts at hand.

    or:

    2. They don’t want to carry the baby to full term for various reasons, and if they manage to convince themselves and/or others that there’s nothing immoral about terminating the pregnancy at that stage because “it’s not actually alive” or “they have the right to abort the child regardless of their actual reasons for doing so” then in their own minds this exonerates them from having to feel any remorse for their actions.

    because honestly the only people with credibility to answer these questions belong to the scientific community, not me or the actual person in question.

    Absolutely correct. The problem here is that, as with so many cases where dogmatic attitudes are held, people will stubbornly stick to the mindset which they perceive to be in their own best interests and which (again in their view) supports their argument, and will discount any scientific evidence contradicting their standpoint. This applies regardless of which side of the fence the person resides on this issue. Case in point: Examples on this very thread.

  53. Ravi Naik — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

    “When the foetus is capable of independent life outside of the womb. Some would argue at no stage of the pregnancy but the end, when the baby draws its first breath.”

    No baby and very few children are capable of independent life outside the womb. If you think about it, there isn’t much difference in the role of a mother regardless of whether the baby is inside or outside her womb.

  54. Ravi Naik — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:08 pm  

    I hate to break it to you Ravi, but it is far more dangerous to the woman concerned to continue with a pregnancy than to terminate it.

    Care to elaborate that?

  55. Jai — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:18 pm  

    When the foetus is capable of independent life outside of the womb.

    Why is it deemed morally acceptable to terminate the foetus’s life if it’s incapable of independent existence, but not if it’s capable of surviving outside the womb ? What’s the logic behind the different attitudes towards the two scenarios ?

    Some would argue at no stage of the pregnancy but the end, when the baby draws its first breath.”

    Foetal respiration is initiated quite some time before birth, albeit through the placenta and the umbilical cord. And cardiac activity — ie. the heart beating — exists by the 8th week of pregnancy.

  56. Katherine — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:25 pm  

    Ravi, I honestly didn’t realise that it was a controversial point that women die in childbirth. Even in the rich, western world childbirth is one of the most dangerous things women can do. It’s not likely to kill them, but of the things that do kill, it’s one of the most common.

    Properly medically supervised abortion, on the other hand, is almost never fatal, or even dangerous to health. Part of this is because the vast majority of abortions are carried out during the first trimester, when of course most medically harmless miscarriages occur also. Very very few abortions are carried out late in term when they might be physically equivalent to giving birth. And it’s the giving birth that’s the really potentially dangerous bit.

    All of this is one of the reasons that some people complain that the UK has abortion on demand – because the law says an abortion can be carried out when the risk to a woman’s physical or mental health will be greater if she continues with the pregnancy than if she ends it – and that is, in effect, always.

  57. Rosie — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:26 pm  

    I could write a serious response to the Catholic objectors to abortion, especially in the very narrowly proscribed circumstances that AI is supporting, however sometimes one must fight idiocy with idiocy.

    On the meaning of life:-

    Each cell in my body is alive yet is incapable of sustaining itself outside of me. Similarly a Foetus is alive, however up until roughly the third trimester it is incapable of sustaining itself outside the human body. (though this is being pushed back by medical technology) It has the potential to do so, and to develop into a full fledged, self-sustaining individual but it is not yet one. However according to the Catholic Church it should be treated as an individual because it has the potential.

    Each sperm cell and egg has the potential to become part of a zygote, which has the potential to develop into a foetus, which has the potential to become an individual, however sperm cells and eggs are not yet fully fledged individuals. However according to the Catholic Church every sperm is sacred (sorry Monty Python) because God’s purpose in inventing sex was to reproduce the human race. However it is quite obvious that since chastity is better than masturbation and non marital sex, that a sperm is only sacred once it has left the human body, since sperm are created and resorbed continually. (I’ll get on to the status of eggs later)

    With the advent of cloning every cell in my body, bar red blood cells and a few others, has the potential to be transformed into a zygote, which has the potential to develop into a foetus which has the potential to develop into an individual. And a clone would be an individual – certainly more individual than identical twins due to the different womb and social environments the clone would experience compared to its genetic twin. It might even be possible in future to mimic the process of fertilisation and split the gentic material in a nrmal cell in half, thus creating artifical sperm and eggs which would produce genetically unique individuals.

    If this is the case then using Catholic logic, which states it is “evil” to use contraception (not just “artificial” contraception – mutual masturbation and withdrawal [crap contraceptive methods admittedly] are banned too) because this violates “Gods design” for sex, then surely not attempting to turn every cell into a new human being is also evil?

    If God has written the potential to turn every cell into a human being into that cell, while also giving us the brains to come up with such techniques as cloning, then surely His design must be for us to do so.

    Similarly it should be possible to save all unfertilised eggs lost through menstruation, and all foetuses lost in miscarriages, and turn them into humans through modern or near future medical techniques.

    I hereby submit to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (A.k.a. the Inquisition) that it should be the duty of the Catholic Church to invest its immense resources into researching human cloning and prescribe that every Catholic, male or female, should wear an impermeable “body condom” at all times(except obviously during those periods when they are engaged in sexual activity with their marriage partner)and that each body condom should be flash frozen at the end of each day to prevent the loss of any cells that could potentially be turned into a human life, until such time as those cells can be turned into zygotes, foetuses, babies etc. through the application of technology.

    While there are obvious practical difficulties here (for example one would also have to collect all excreta and sift it for human cells, and come up with some sort of filter to collect those cells exhaled) this policy would have the added advantage of preserving Catholics against airborne diseases.

    Now go forth and multiply.

  58. Soso — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:38 pm  

    I would rather say that they are of equal value. Which is why abortion – the killing of one of those lives – can only be justified IMO when the mother’s life is in obvious danger should the pregnancy continue

    The Catholic church actually allows abortions in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. It has no probeleme with that.

    I think that human life starts at conception, but I STILL think women should have a choice.

    That said, when women are considering abortion, they should ponder it good and hard and consider any and all options that would allow them to keep the child.

    You know, how many women regret having had children?

    Has a women ever said to anyone commenting here; “oh I wish I hadn’t had my little Suzie cuz she’s such a bitch or my little Johnny cuz he’s such a pain”.

    Abortion, too, is being assailed by progress in medical technology. The upper limit for abortions in some countries is now about the same as the bottom limit for survivivng preemies, creating, thus, a moral minefield

    Strange, eh? You abort (kill) the one foetus and it’s a triumph of women rights, whereas if you kill a preemie of an equal age you’ll be behind bars for murder.

    To CATH: If I willingly offer you a lift in my car , do I then not have the responsability to drop you off at your destination? Or should I just leave you somewhere (abortion) on the side of the road?

    Are you going to tell me that women are so irresponsable that they have no controle over their bodies, controle that would prevent pregnancies?

    And is the pro-choice argument merely the sigh of a lazy, irresponsable slut?

    You know, before AI starts to trash The Church, they should think of how much work The Church has done to improve the lot of third world women. In many poverty-stricken areas of the globe the only hospitals, clinics and medical staff around are funded by Catholics.

    This is especially true of AIDS treatments.

    Lastly, The Church is in the business of providing and articulating moral ABSOLUTES, and because of that it often *sounds* fundamentalist.

    It isn’t though. If we ( I’m Catholic) were always constrained to respect every moral absolute TO-THE-LETTER, then why is The church so big on confession?

    It has confession because while promulgating moral absolutes it also provides for human weakness, by institutionalising and encouraging what I’d call an ‘escape hatch’.

    Sometimes there’s nothing better than confessing everything and getting it off you chest.

    Once again, abortion should remain legal, accessible and widely available, but it shouldn’t be encouraged or presented as the only option for pregnant women.

  59. Jai — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:40 pm  

    because the law says an abortion can be carried out when the risk to a woman’s physical or mental health will be greater if she continues with the pregnancy than if she ends it – and that is, in effect, always.

    There’s a difference between having the facility to terminate the pregnancy as a result of a hypothetical danger to the woman’s health due to the future possibility of medical complications occuring during the course of the pregnancy, and actual medical complications which arise and unequivocally put the woman’s life in danger. One could say that the former example is intellectual sophistry and an abuse of the system.

    Katherine, let me ask you something, just so we know where you stand on this particular issue: If a woman wishes to terminate her pregnancy at any point up to and including the full term because the foetus is not the gender that the woman had desired, do you think she should have the right to do so ?

  60. Jai — on 22nd August, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

    By the way, in case there is any confusion on this issue, I am not a Catholic or a Christian of any denomination, either by birth or by belief. For the record.

  61. Soso — on 22nd August, 2007 at 7:19 pm  

    By the way, in case there is any confusion on this issue, I am not a Catholic or a Christian of any denomination, either by birth or by belief. For the record.

    Wow! Guess being Christian nowadays is akin to having been a socialist back in 50s America.

  62. Jai — on 22nd August, 2007 at 7:28 pm  

    Don’t be paranoid, Soso. I don’t think there’s anything wrong whatsoever with a person being Christian. I was clarifying my background so that nobody would mistakenly presume that my own stance is a result of Catholicism or Christianity in general — since the main topic of this discussion is related to the Catholic Church.

  63. Cath — on 22nd August, 2007 at 7:31 pm  

    Ravi Naik – “If you think about it, there isn’t much difference in the role of a mother regardless of whether the baby is inside or outside her womb.”

    Apart from the fact that once the baby’s outside the womb it’s not necessarily the mother’s role to be the primary carer. Not unless you’re completely stuck in those old gender roles….

    Soso – “That said, when women are considering abortion, they should ponder it good and hard and consider any and all options that would allow them to keep the child”

    I don’t think any woman goes into it lightly, without thinking through all the options first. That said, in the very early weeks I don’t see a problem, not when there’s the abortion pill now and there’s no surgery involved.

    Soso – “If I willingly offer you a lift in my car , do I then not have the responsability to drop you off at your destination? Or should I just leave you somewhere (abortion) on the side of the road?”

    I’d say that was entirely up to you. How about if the car breaks down on the way there (man runs out on the relationship, thus abrogating any responsibilty for his part in the conception)? Or if instead of offering me the lift you’d actually dragged me into the car against my will (rape)? Don’t I then have the right to jump out at the first set of lights? And would anyone blame me if I did?

    Soso – “And is the pro-choice argument merely the sigh of a lazy, irresponsable slut?”

    Nice. Of course, women get pregnant all by themselves don’t they? And all contraception is 100% reliable? (that’s if your religion permits you to use any of course).

    Soso – “This is especially true of AIDS treatments”

    If the Catholic Church wasn’t so opposed to the use of condoms, maybe they wouldn’t be kept so busy in the developing world clearing up the mess they helped to create.

  64. The Common Humanist — on 22nd August, 2007 at 7:56 pm  

    “You know, before AI starts to trash The Church, they should think of how much work The Church has done to improve the lot of third world women. In many poverty-stricken areas of the globe the only hospitals, clinics and medical staff around are funded by Catholics”

    Yes, those overlarge families that tend to gobble away gains in economic growth, lead to deforestation, over grazing, soil loss, urban slums and absolute poverty are a real boon…….

    Those clinics would be better staffed by non religious zealots.

    The Catholic Church has managed to set back the fight against HIV in the developing world by decades.

    I defy anyone to walk through the slums of Manilla, as an example, and think, Catholism has been such a great thing for that city………..

  65. Don — on 22nd August, 2007 at 8:23 pm  

    Soso,

    With all this talk of lazy, irresponsible sluts and the wonder of giving birth etc., you seem to have missed the point of AI’s stance.

    ‘…in cases of rape, incest or violence, or where the pregnancy jeopardises a mother’s life or health.’

    A woman in Darfur who has been impregnated by rape and cast out by her family – assuming they weren’t butchered – is not really in a position to ponder meaningful alternatives. And carrying the foetus to term is almost certainly going to be seriously life threatening.

    AI is not, as far as I know, ‘trashing’ the church. It has made a considered and humane decision which the church is attempting to undermine/reverse on the basis of its own teachings and doctrines – doctrines which are unlikely to be shared by most of the people actually involved.

  66. sahil — on 22nd August, 2007 at 11:38 pm  

    Soso do you ever wonder what you say before you speak it? I just wonder because my mouth is hanging on the floor after looking at your comments all over PP. Be proud to be american eh?? You are a joke to the states, my Yankee friends don’t need a joker like you working on their image. Fucking loser. Sorry Sunny but this guy deserves a kick up the throat.

  67. Ravi Naik — on 23rd August, 2007 at 12:11 am  

    “Ravi Naik – “If you think about it, there isn’t much difference in the role of a mother regardless of whether the baby is inside or outside her womb.”

    Apart from the fact that once the baby’s outside the womb it’s not necessarily the mother’s role to be the primary carer. Not unless you’re completely stuck in those old gender roles….”

    She is indeed the primary carer, as intended by nature, where her body is already transformed to give milk after birth, to continue to nurture the baby. The role is therefore maintained. And one can see these “old gender roles” in other mammals too.

  68. Ravi Naik — on 23rd August, 2007 at 12:20 am  

    Jai raises a very good point about India, and also China, where abortions (although infanticide is more prevalent) are commited to the female population for economic reasons.

    I also wish to know for those that believe in abortions “plain and simple”, if they agree with this practice.

  69. Red Maria — on 23rd August, 2007 at 2:07 am  

    Its a sad day when Sunny Hundal writes such an ill-judged peice. Quite a few people – Sunny is not alone in this – aren’t aware of just how badly Amnesty has behaved over this issue.
    Aside from the fact that Amnesty is engaging in some pretty nasty press tactics against Catholics and Pro-Lifers of other faiths who have objected to this policy. Aside from the fact that Amnesty really didn’t need to push this policy through. Aside from the contemptuous attitude Amnesty has taken to people like Bishop Evans who have been the backbone of the movement for decades.
    Aside from all that. There are some serious questions about the blatantly partisan, worryingly undemocratic nature of the whole “consultation” process.
    Just consider the results of Amnesty UK’s consultation:

    Question 1 Do you agree that Amnesty International should develop policy to enable
    research and action to achieve the following:
    - decriminalisation of abortion
    - access to quality services for the management of complications arising
    from abortions
    - access to abortion in cases of rape, sexual assault, incest, and risk to a
    woman’s life
    Yes: 45.4% No: 45.7% Undecided: 8.0% No answer: 0.8%

    Question 2 Are there any further circumstances under which AI should develop policy on abortion? eg risk to mother’s health, severe foetal development, sex-selective abortions, unwanted pregnancy in forced or early marriages etc
    Yes: 31.1% No: 42.6% Undecided: 8.0% No answer: 18.4%

    Question 3 Should Amnesty International take the view that a woman’s right to physical
    and mental integrity (her safety and health) includes her right to terminate her pregnancy within reasonable limitations, if she chooses to do so? So abortion should be legal, safe and accessible for all women?
    Yes: 35.3% No: 52.8% Undecided: 9.6% No answer: 2.3%

    In other words, the respondents did NOT support a change in policy. But they were ignored.

  70. Jen R — on 23rd August, 2007 at 2:41 am  

    Yes, Amnesty’s claim that this policy was decided upon only after two years of consultation with their membership is a farce. As Red Maria says, the UK respondents didn’t support the change. The general membership in the US was never consulted. The policy was discussed at regional meetings in the US late last year, but: a) most members don’t attend those meetings; and b) pro-life Amnesty members who tried to present the case for continued neutrality on abortion were told that the new policy was not being debated, and that the discussion would only be about how best to implement it. Callers to Amnesty’s US national office in May 2006 were even told that Amnesty wasn’t considering a change in policy on abortion at all, and that that was just a rumor! Members in the Australia chapter are also apparently very upset, based on the press I’ve been seeing from there.

    For an organization founded on the principle of freedom of conscience, Amnesty has been remarkably contemptuous of the consciences of a large number of its members.

    Oh, and I’m not a Catholic, I’m an atheist. Despite what Amnesty and the lazy press would have you believe, Catholics are not the only ones opposed to the new policy.

  71. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 23rd August, 2007 at 3:47 am  

    Hopefully I will never be in this situation but is seems a bit cruel to create a second victim out of an already terrible crime, i.e. rape, incest, etc. The mother has been victimized and now Amnesty International is giving its support for further victimization of an unborn child.

    Just because that child is the product of violence and non-consensual sex doesnt mean its life is any less valuable. The women shouldnt be forced to raise the children, because it wasnt their decision to make. She should give it to state custody.

    In the US we have Safe Haven laws that protect women from prosecution if they safely abandon their babies at hospitals, fire departments, police departments etc, if they dont want to raise the children. In the developing world, this isnt an option but in the developed world where women continue to be the victims of rape and incest, they should be encouraged to just give the baby up instead of aborting it.

  72. Jai — on 23rd August, 2007 at 9:59 am  

    I’d say that was entirely up to you. How about if the car breaks down on the way there (man runs out on the relationship, thus abrogating any responsibilty for his part in the conception)?…..Don’t I then have the right to jump out at the first set of lights?

    A more accurate interpretation of that analogy would be desiring the right to jump out of the car and then set fire to it, thereby killing the baby strapped into the back seat.

    I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate. Taking this back to the main point, why draw the line at terminating the child only during the course of the pregnancy ? If there are any changes in circumstances after birth — for example, if “the man runs out on the relationship” as per the quote above, or if the woman later changes her mind (for whatever reason) and does not desire to support a child, should she have the right to kill him/her at any point until the time he/she is capable of physically & financially surviving independently of the mother (age: 16/18/21 ?) ? If not, why not ?

    All very Roman, incidentally.

  73. Sofia — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:37 am  

    I do find the debate on abortion a difficult one. On one hand women should have the right to practice choice. On the other hand I believe in the sanctity of the unborn child. I think the question of choice again must be held alongside responsibility. Should the reason behind an individual abortion be held up to scrutiny or should choice be practiced regardless of the reasons. Therefore should women in India who abort their female foetuses continue to have this right? The legalisation of abortion was hoped to give women the choice but how often do women exercise this choice with adult responsibility. Why is it that this country has some of the highest abortion statistics in Europe, and please don’t go on about sex education and how rubbish it is. I had basic sex education at school..it was simple, you sleep with someone and don’t use a condom or contraception, you may get pregnant. The vast majority of abortions in this country are not carried out because the woman has been raped or the child is at risk, but because of an “accident”…

  74. justagal — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:10 am  

    The Catholic view is very entrenched on account of the belief that the foetus is human from conception. Islamic and Jewish teaching hold that life comesinto being on the 120th. and 40th day respectively and so permit it under some circumstances before those days.

    Below is a link to an article outlining the positions of the world’s major religions on the issue of abortion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_and_abortion#Roman_Catholicism

  75. Tim Worstall — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:35 am  

    Sunny:

    “Because provision of abortion facilities is a human rights issue.”

    That’s your opinion, one not shared by some (many? few? whatever) who do support the original aims of AI, as I did and do.

    I’m with Rumbold here. AI should concentrate on its original mission, prisoners of conscience and fair trials. The other parts of the human rights package can be argued over separately, by other organisations.

  76. Cath — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:37 am  

    Jai – “Taking this back to the main point, why draw the line at terminating the child only during the course of the pregnancy ?”

    Because during the course of the pregnancy it’s not a child.

  77. Sofia — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:48 am  

    Bikhair, don’t you think it unjust that a woman who has been raped and therefore traumatised should then have to carry the child of the man who did this to her?

  78. Sofia — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:52 am  

    Cath, so the day before a child is born, it is not technically a child?

  79. Jai — on 23rd August, 2007 at 12:07 pm  

    Cath,

    Because during the course of the pregnancy it’s not a child.

    Define “child” please, in your own words.

  80. Cath — on 23rd August, 2007 at 12:40 pm  

    Sofia – No, technically it’s a foetus until it’s born.

    Jai – A child is a person under 16. A foetus is not a person.

    But let’s be honest here, I don’t think there are many that would argue for abortion right up to the 39th week, so all this talk of late term abortion just obscures the argument. Abortion is overwhelmingly carried out before the 24th week of pregnancy, before the neural pathways have connected etc. Late abortion is usually only performed when the woman’s life is at significant risk, or the foetus is so severely compromised that it would be unlikely to survive beyond birth.

  81. Jai — on 23rd August, 2007 at 12:55 pm  

    Cath,

    Sofia – No, technically it’s a foetus until it’s born.

    Jai – A child is a person under 16. A foetus is not a person.

    You don’t think it’s a person until the moment it’s born ?

    Why not ? I’m not referring to legal nomenclature; I’d interested in knowing your personal reasons for not regarding it as a human being until it’s born.

  82. Cath — on 23rd August, 2007 at 1:13 pm  

    Jai. Because a foetus isn’t alive; up until it’s born it has merely the potential for life.

    Sorry, but I have to bow out of the debate for today. I’ll check back tomorrow.

  83. Sofia — on 23rd August, 2007 at 1:19 pm  

    I’ll leave it as I don’t agree with a child being a foetus until it is actually born…I think sometimes it is just better to agree to disagree

  84. Ravi Naik — on 23rd August, 2007 at 2:45 pm  

    “Jai. Because a foetus isn’t alive; up until it’s born it has merely the potential for life.

    I think you are taking an extreme view which even those who are pro-choice would disagree.

  85. Jay3gsm — on 23rd August, 2007 at 3:14 pm  

    I have not had a chance to read all comments made, unfortunately, but I’d like to come back into the debate, and make a few replies to some comments made:

    #30 The Common Humanist
    Jay,
    How about addressing my point, that the CC blind adherence to its evil opposition to artificial contraception actually causes abortions rather then prevents them?

    ———————————————–

    Could you explain how you believe this? I’ll ignore the evil opposition point, I would just like to know how the Catholic Church’s teaching on artificial contraception actually *causes* abortions?

    #37 ChrisC
    No.
    It’s not just her body, is it?
    Otherwise we would not (perhaps you don’t) put a time limit on abortion.

    ————————————————-

    There isn’t a time limit on abortion. A woman can have her child removed from the womb at any point up to term, for any reason.

    #44 Katherine
    And you still haven’t been able to touch on the point that making abortion illegal doesn’t stop them happening.

    —————————————————

    I wouldn’t be naïve enough to believe it would stop people seeking abortion if it were illegal, but then that’s the case with many things. Many people commit acts that are illegal. However, making abortion illegal would send the message that it is wrong, that just because the person has yet to be born doesn’t mean they have no rights as a human being. Society should condemn such evil acts, rather than be complicit in them.

    #48 Ravi Naik
    Fortunately, long are the days when the Catholic Church actually had a final say on private matters. As a Catholic, I find their opposition to condoms totally unacceptable and I cannot understand their position under any light. However, their opposition to abortion is understandable, even if I find it unfair to victims of rape and incest.

    —————————————————-

    I don’t wish to cast doubt on your faith, but the comments you make are not in line with Church teaching. The Church teaches that artificial contraception is intrinsically evil. Of course you are free to disagree, but you cannot just choose to ignore the teaching of the Church. Catholicism isn’t something you can pick and choose at. Selecting the teachings you like, ignoring the ones you do not is not Catholicism. If you act contrary to Church teaching then you are not living the Catholic faith.

    I’m curious why opposition to abortion for victims of rape and incest is unfair to the victims of those awful crimes? It seems as if people have the mentality that abortion is a cure all for the suffering the victim has endured. As if, by removing the person inside, this will somehow ‘make things better.’

    Evidence from women who have had abortions would suggest this is not the case. Why make two victims from the one crime?

  86. Soso — on 23rd August, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

    Be proud to be american eh?? You are a joke to the states, my Yankee friends don’t need a joker like you working on their image. Fucking loser. Sorry Sunny but this guy deserves a kick up the throat.

    I’m Canadian, Sahil.

    I’m also gay…and completely lacking in post-colonialist guilt.

    So you kick-me-up-the-throat, sweetie, and I’ll fuck-you-up-the-ass…..without a condom.

    Mind you tongue, twerp, and I’ll mind mine.

    If the Catholic Church wasn’t so opposed to the use of condoms, maybe they wouldn’t be kept so busy in the developing world clearing up the mess they helped to create.

    You just knew this was comming….

    Yeah, the condom two-step.

    Gays have nothing against the use of condoms, Cath. In fact, they ridicule The Church’s stance on this all the time. They are even UN *studies* (Saudi financed, some say) purporting to demonstrate how circumcision reduces AIDS infections. Condoms don’t help much and circumcision is for the birds.

    Hence, HIV infection rates are still climbing among gays, condoms notwithstanding and whether they be cut/uncut.

    Why, exactly?

    Because ( cover yer ears…here comes the truth!) SOME gay men are lazy, irresponsable sluts who cannot display even a minimum of sexual discipline.

    Aids isn’t caused by a lack of condoms, Cath; it is the result of irresponable human sexual behavior.

    The more people engage in promiscuous behavior, the great their chances of becomming infected…PERIOD.

    As someone who has had several close friends die of this disease, I cannot understand why people refuse to grasp such simple, basic logic.

    And this whole issue on abortion comes down to choosing between the lesser of two evils. The Catholic Church has, grosso modo, down a MORE for women than AI. AI does a great deal of grandstanding, but very little concrete work, and its hierarchy of victims is drawn up, not based on objective standards, but merely in relation to PERCIEVED instances of Western colonialism.

    It’s agenda is more poltical than humanitarian.

    AI is populated by individuals who operate according to certain soft prejudices; they see themselves as the humanistic vanguard of anti-colonialism, as the moral champions of the Third World. Many of its members, thus, have a muddled, skewed idea of the difference between right and wrong.

    On this point,”RED MARIA’S” comments are worth noting. This abortion intiative is not being drawn up to benefit third-world women; it’s an >i>egotisticalinitiative rammed through by zealous, guilt-ridden White ideologues and is laregely designed to marginalise and demonise western-based faith groups and Christians in particular….the very groups that actually DO something to help

    Same old, same old White moral preening performed on the backs of bewildered and defenseless Third World people.

    ‘…in cases of rape, incest or violence, or where the pregnancy jeopardises a mother’s life or health.’ DON.

    I stated TWICE in my first posting that abortion should remain legal and available.

    A woman in Darfur who has been impregnated by rape and cast out by her family – assuming they weren’t butchered – is not really in a position to ponder meaningful alternatives. And carrying the foetus to term is almost certainly going to be seriously life threatening.

    Moot point, there are no abortion clinics in Darfur…although I’m sure the Arabs in Khartoum wished there were……

  87. Sunny — on 23rd August, 2007 at 3:44 pm  

    Moot point, there are no abortion clinics in Darfur…although I’m sure the Arabs in Khartoum wished there were

    As is the case with anti-choice fanatics in the United States… oh whoops, there goes my anti-Americanism streak again!

    Soso, when you start making some sense in these rambling and immature posts then you’ll be worth engaging with.

  88. Red Maria — on 23rd August, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

    Sunny,
    Could you comment on the pertinent remarks made by myself and Jen R?

  89. Soso — on 23rd August, 2007 at 4:42 pm  

    Soso, when you start making some sense in these rambling and immature posts then you’ll be worth engaging with.

    Sunny, many AI, UN and NGO intiatives are all about the quirks and kinks operating in the minds of white, western, bourgeois do-gooders who, in my opinion, are little more than the spiritual heirs to those tiresome, 19th century, Protestant missionaries.

    The similarities are uncanny, and the results of their condescending and misguided initiatives JUST as devastating for the Third World.

    I propose Bobbie Mugabe, once the poster boy of the UN/AI crowd, as exhibit “A”.

    Setting Mugabe up in business wasn’t about helping Africans; the guy was a merely bromide, a balm meant to do nothing more than to soothe the moral pangs of selfish, guilt-ridden Whites.

    You are from India. How much good has AI and similar organisations done for India in comparison to the countless Christian-based ( and others) charities that operate all over the country?

    It’s one thing to grandstand in front of the cameras, and to remain squeaky clean and moral; it’s quite another to get down on your knees and change an AIDS patient’s diapers.

    And that sounds rambling and immature to you?

  90. The Common Humanist — on 23rd August, 2007 at 5:21 pm  

    Jay
    Shall I walk you through it?

    Sex without contraception causes preganancy approximatley 5-8% of the time.

    Many of these pregnancies are to young women, girls really in terms of mental maturity. An abortion is often the result.

    In predominantly catholic countries/regions etc the level of sex education awareness can be terribly low (another count again the CC) and young people, being only human, are bound to have sex at some point.

    Catholic opposition to contraception ruins lives, causes abortions, assists the spread of HIV and other STDs and generally has a profoundly negative impact on the societies affected.

    So why again is contraception evil????

  91. Jai — on 23rd August, 2007 at 5:39 pm  

    Soso,

    As someone who has had several close friends die of this disease,

    This is off-topic, but I just wanted to say that I’m very sorry to hear that; it must have been a very difficult experience for you. I do know what it is like to go through the trauma of close friends passing away before their time (especially at a tragically young age, when they should have had their whole lives in front of them to look forward to), so you do have my heartfelt sympathy.

  92. Don — on 23rd August, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

    TCH,

    ‘So why again is contraception evil????’

    What? Do I have to walk you through it? OK, non-procreative sex is bad because it annoys the pope and probably makes Baby Jesus cry.

    However, God has given us the gifts of multiple unwanted pregnancies, STD’s, HIV and cervical cancer to discourage weak fleshy vessels from abusing their reproductive bits for mere recreation.

    So anything that stands in the way of God’s benevolent plan is intrinsically evil. The church is not without compassion for the victims of rape, incest or complications that will result in a child who’s life will most likely consist of a few weeks or months of inchoate agony; but they are acceptable collateral damage.

    Obvious, when you think about it.

  93. Red Maria — on 23rd August, 2007 at 6:27 pm  

    Common Humanist,

    Allow ME to walk YOU through it, with reference to FACTS, not unpleasant prejudices.

    Contraception is not 100% foolproof at preventing pregnancy even among ADULTS.

    The failure rate for the combined pill is as low as it gets at 1-2%. In other words, for every one hundred women using it, you would expect one or two to conceive. NB this assumes “perfect” use of the product.

    The Pro-choice lobby frequently assures us that cheap, widespread availability of birth control drugs and devices will reduce “unwanted” conception, abortion and live birth rates. Such assertions tend not to be accompanied by any supporting evidence, which isn’t surprising since empirical evidence does not support such a conclusion.

    Take the case of the UK where since 1974, birth control drugs and devices have been available for free on the NHS and widely promoted.

    If pro-choice claims are accurate, we would expect a decrease in abortion rates since that date.

    Did that happen?

    NO.

    Abortion rates in the UK continued to climb after 1974.

    Similarly, we are assured that sex “education” will reduce “unwanted” conception, abortion and live birth rates.

    If that were the case, we would expect the government’s teenage pregnancy strategy – which was formulated exclusively by the pro-choice lobby rather than independent experts and which relies heavily on sex “education” and making birth control drugs and devices easily and freely available to teenagers – to be a resounding success. We would expect it to be accompanied by a decrease in abortion rates among 16-24 year olds.

    Has that happened?

    NO.

    In fact, the reverse is the case.

    19 year olds are now the most likely to have abortions of any age group despite enormous government spending on sex “education” and birth control provision. Previously, the highest rate was among 20-24 year olds. According to the latest available figures, the number of under 16s and under 18s having abortions *increased*.

    The notion that sex “education” and birth control provision will reduce “unwanted” conceptions, abortions and live births is NOT supported by the evidence.

  94. Ravi Naik — on 23rd August, 2007 at 6:34 pm  

    “Catholic opposition to contraception ruins lives, causes abortions, assists the spread of HIV and other STDs and generally has a profoundly negative impact on the societies affected.”

    Let me balance your argument. The Catholic Church is opposed to pre-marital sex, hence it is ludicrous to say, in my view, that people who have sex outside marriage are not using condoms because it is a sin.

    Obviously, much of not using condoms (which leads to STDs, HIV, pregancies, and so on) is the result of lack of sexual education. But whose fault is it? The Church? TV? No, it is the parent’s responsability.

    But let’s just say that England – a largely secular non-Catholic country – has the largest amount of teenage pregancies, and one of the highest incidence of STDs in Europe. Clearly, there is a lot more that explains these occurrences than to blame everything on the Catholic Church.

  95. Red Maria — on 23rd August, 2007 at 7:15 pm  

    Ravi,
    Its very difficult to balance an argument grounded in such unreason. Anti-Catholicism is just another irrational prejudice. Anti-Catholics have no regard for verifiable facts, logic or hard evidence. They can’t possibly back up their preposterous claims about there being a causal link or even, to set the standard of proof lower, a correlation between Roman Catholicism and say, unplanned conception rates. Not that they even ever try to cobble together so much as a coherent argument studded with a few footnotes. But that’s not the point. Reason is antithetical to prejudice. We cannot and should not expect the prejudiced to follow the rules of robust, evidence-based debates. The two just don’t mix.

  96. Don — on 23rd August, 2007 at 7:18 pm  

    ‘The Catholic Church is opposed to pre-marital sex, hence it is ludicrous to say, in my view, that people who have sex outside marriage are not using condoms because it is a sin.’

    I wouldn’t say ludicrous, Ravi, because I don’t think anyone has proposed that direct a link. In other words, the truck driver who has unprotected sex with a prostitute before returning home to have unprotected sex with his wife (whether she wants it or not) is not forgoing protection because he has taken on board the Vatican’s latest ruling. A more significant factor is that two of the most influential actors in overseas aid – the Vatican and US evangelicals – have set their faces against any project which promulgates the normalisation of condom use. And that is serious clout.

    Let’s keep this in the context wherein AI is working, which is not the UK. In that context, parental responsibility assumes an element of parental control and a reasonable degree of parental awareness of the facts. I doubt that many parents are in that position.

    ‘…the result of lack of sexual education. But whose fault is it? The Church?’ In many cases, yes.

    PS. Mechai Viravaidya for UN secretary General.

  97. Kulvinder — on 23rd August, 2007 at 7:40 pm  

    I would have to disagree, although my own stance is based on the fact that I have an undergraduate degree which is identical to pre-clinical Medicine (from a redbrick college affiliated with one of the UK’s top teaching hospitals) and which extensively covered foetal development in its syllabus, along with the fact that my father is a senior hospital consultant whose specialisms include neonatal paediatrics and obstetrics and who would therefore also forcefully disagree with your comment from a professional medical point of view.

    This isn’t an argument.

    Besides all that id be happy for anyone to terminate any parasitic lifeform they don’t want.

  98. Soso — on 23rd August, 2007 at 7:56 pm  

    This is off-topic, but I just wanted to say that I’m very sorry to hear that; it must have been a very difficult experience for you. I do know what it is like to go through the trauma of close friends passing away before their time (especially at a tragically young age, when they should have had their whole lives in front of them to look forward to), so you do have my heartfelt sympathy.

    Thank-you Jai.

    They were surrouonded by lots of support and love in their final days, and accepted their deaths with a dignity that few of us can muster. The experience was so traumatic and ao transformative that my life is in two compartments: one labelled ‘before AIDS’ and the other ‘after AIDS’.

    I want young people like you ( and others here) to learn from that.

    You know, sex sells and nothing sells like sex. The promiscuity we see nowadays is encouraged and reinforced at every turn in order to sell the public endless quantites of useless products, be it sports- cars, beer or perfums, that we neither need nor want.

    So whether one is straight, gay or lesbian, expropriate your sexuality, take it back, make it healthy, commit to your partners with honesty and sincerity and you’ll not only remain alive, you’ll have also delivered a kick in the teeth to the cynical marketing strategies of greedy corporations and multinationals.

    Cuz that’s all *sexual liberation* was ever about.

  99. Red Maria — on 23rd August, 2007 at 8:38 pm  

    I’m afraid Don doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The most influential actors in overseas aid are national governments and the agencies of supranational bodies such as the EU and UN, which are strongly linked to birth-control lobby groups. If you want to look at serious clout in international aid you might want to look at, say, the UK’s DFID which spends more on birth-control (the second largest slice of its budget) than it does on clean water. DFID funding goes to birth-control, abortion agencies such as Marie Stopes and IPPF.
    Much is made of the supposed influence of Roman Catholics and Evangelical Christians on aid and AIDS policy in the US and Uganda, where they have supported the successful abstinence-driven campaign against HIV AIDS – the only country to have significantly reduced HIV rates. But this pales into insignifance when compared with the mammoth amounts funnelled to the pro-abortion agencies which advance condom-driven campaigns against HIV AIDS.
    As with the UK’s hopelessly unsuccessful teenage pregnancy campaign, results don’t determine the annual bonanza of grants settled on condom campaigns, which can merrily suck up endless amounts of money without seeing any decrease in HIV AIDS infection rates.
    To date the only country to have successfully reduced HIV AIDS is Uganda, which uses an abstinence-driven policy.

  100. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 23rd August, 2007 at 9:33 pm  

    Sofia,

    Now that depends on the woman doesnt it? I mean it is the child of the man who raped her but it is also half of her. For the sake of her better half, she should keep it. I guess the crime shouldnt define what the child is.

  101. Katy Newton — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:11 pm  

    The idea that women want abortions because they are promiscuous is as offensive as it is misinformed. Women are not using abortion as birth control, you stupid, stupid men (and Bikhair). And forcing a woman to carry a child to term against her will is nothing less than slavery whether she has been raped or not – but how much more disgraceful to make a woman carry the seed of her rapist around with her for nine months and risk her life giving birth to it (and yes, women can and do die giving birth even in this supposedly advanced and enlightened first-world country of ours). Being pregnant and giving birth are difficult enough when you want the baby. God only knows what it’s like when you don’t.

    When medical technology has advanced to the point where a foetus can be transplanted onto a man to gestate then I might pay some attention to what men have to say. But I suspect that once those men who are opposed to abortion have to do some of the work involved in pregnancy and giving birth themselves they’ll be far, far more receptive to the idea of abortion. Oh yes.

  102. Red Maria — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:16 pm  

    Alas, the evidence increasingly indicates that abortion IS being used as birth control, Katy, you stupid, stupid woman.
    The rest of your comment made use of absurd extreme rhetoric and was frankly too irrational to take seriously.

  103. Katy Newton — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

    I’m sorry it was so well written, Red Maria. Point me to the evidence that women are using abortion as birth control.

  104. Red Maria — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:20 pm  

    NB Childbirth is a remarkably safe and beneficial procedure in developed countries which has qualitative benefits for women. One of the tactics of pro-abortion campaigners is to exaggerate the risks of childbirth. This is known as pathologising pregnancy.
    In fact, there are no grounds for using abortion to save a woman’s life.

  105. Katy Newton — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:22 pm  

    And perhaps you could also address the rest of what I said, which dealt with the position of women who have been raped, and who therefore cannot be said to be using abortion as birth-control. I believe that is the part that you described as “too irrational to take seriously”.

    I take that to mean that you have no sensible reply to it and are therefore reduced to trying to get out of providing one, which is the usual refuge of the intellectually stunted.

  106. Red Maria — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:23 pm  

    How very elegantly put, Ms Newton. Read my earlier posts. Specifically on the teenage pregnancy strategy. That 19 year olds are now the most common aborting age group, despite the wide, free availability of birth control drugs and devices has led commentators to speculate that abortion is now being used as a method of birth control.

  107. ad — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:26 pm  

    Thought experiment: a woman is due to give birth in one week. If birth were induced now, the child would survive.

    a) Would you allow the termination and extraction of the foetus?
    b) Would you allow the foetus to be extracted and terminated?
    c) Would you allow the foetus to be born naturally and terminated?

    If you agree to c), when will you disallow infanticide?
    If you agree to b), but not c), what difference does that week make?
    If you agree to a), but not b) and c), what difference does it make in which order the foetus is killed and extracted? It ends up in the same state either way.

    If you accept abortion at an earlier stage, why not now?

  108. Kulvinder — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:35 pm  

    The phrasing of the questions is odd; what do you mean by ‘allow’? If you mean object according to some personal morality/philosophy, i wouldn’t have any problem with any woman terminating a pregnancy at any stage.

    In addition equating the life of a new born baby that has little or no sentience to that of any other non-comatose human is bizarre. It wouldn’t bother me the least if the new born was killed, just as it doesn’t bother me when a life support machine is switched off.

  109. Kulvinder — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:43 pm  

    nb tangential to the discussion its why i also found the self-rightous uproar over these two puzzling. If the increasing tendency to base justice around ‘victim impact’ means anything then you have to have the intellectual honesty to hold the same opinions in a situation where ‘victim impact’ could well be negligible.

  110. ad — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:52 pm  

    Kulvinder: You are not in favour of abortion, you are in favour of infanticide, up to a certain point. Fair enough. What is that point? When do you object to infanticide?

  111. Ravi Naik — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:07 pm  

    “risk her life giving birth to it (and yes, women can and do die giving birth even in this supposedly advanced and enlightened first-world country of ours).”

    I always assumed that inducing an abortion was very harmful to a woman’s body, more so than giving birth.

  112. Kulvinder — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:19 pm  

    I don’t remember saying im not in favour of abortion?

    Essentially human life is worthless to me unless it has the capacity to ‘fathom’ (in the broadest sense of the word) its own existence (ditto). To ask you your question another way at what point are you personally ‘okay’ with switching off the life support machine of someone? The only sensible answer you can give is ‘it depends’. Every circumstance should be judged in its own right. The point at which a person can ‘decide for themselves’ is different for everyone.

    Nevertheless all things being equal i just wouldn’t hold the ‘value’ of a new born baby or a comatose patient as being ‘equal’ to that of anyone else.

    If there were a building on fire with one comatose patient, one new born baby and one adult female (who was aware of her surroundings and what was happening) and i was only given the opportunity to save one id save the adult female.

  113. Katy — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:20 pm  

    I always assumed that inducing an abortion was very harmful to a woman’s body, more so than giving birth.

    My understanding is that in the first trimester an abortion is always safer for the woman than going to full term.

    People underestimate how dangerous giving birth is, even now. Until the twentieth century women were most likely to die in childbirth. The safety of giving birth now in this country for both mother and baby varies drastically from hospital to hospital.

  114. Katy — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:33 pm  

    Antiabortionists tend to concentrate on late-stage terminations. Government statistics indicate that since 1997 roughly 50% of abortions take place within the first 9 weeks and 90% within the first 12 weeks.

    I think that the earliest a premature baby has been “viable” (i.e. survived) is 20 weeks, but I am more than happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

  115. Ravi Naik — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:56 pm  

    “nb tangential to the discussion its why i also found the self-rightous uproar over these two puzzling”

    Two people rape someone’s baby, and you find it puzzling that people get upset about it? How quaint.

    Your argument about “minimum impact” seems misplaced. The truth of the matter is that babies are sentient beings, they do react to their surroundings, to the people around. Just because they are “worthless” based on your narrow definition, it does not mean it is less disgusting. But I can see you also think animals can be kicked around, because they are worthless.

  116. Ravi Naik — on 24th August, 2007 at 12:05 am  

    “When medical technology has advanced to the point where a foetus can be transplanted onto a man”

    Katy, I am certain that in the future, babies will be conceived in laboratories. Men and women would donate their seed and eggs at an early stage of their lives, and will then decide when they want their babies to be made. I also think they would be able to choose the gender, and several other desirable characteristics. This way, women would not need to carry the burden, as we move on to an increasingly gender neutral society.

  117. Katy — on 24th August, 2007 at 12:23 am  

    It would be wonderful if men and women could genuinely share the burden of pregnancy and birth, and I know that many men try to, but until it’s genuinely possible for the burden to be shared or taken on by a man where his partner doesn’t want the child, I think it has to be a woman’s choice.

    (“Stupid stupid men” was rather unfair, for I know that Sunny and Leon and other people are pro-choice whereas Bikhair, who is a lady, is not. Sorry, pro-choice men.)

  118. Cath — on 24th August, 2007 at 1:01 am  

    Jai – You specifically asked:

    “You don’t think it’s a person until the moment it’s born ?

    Why not ? I’m not referring to legal nomenclature; I’d interested in knowing your personal reasons for not regarding it as a human being until it’s born.”

    So I gave my personal opinion. Now you’re asking for my professional medical supporting evidence! Well guess what? I don’t have any. But what I do know is that up until the point of birth, the foetus is totally dependent on the mother for survival; as kulvinder has so eloquently stated, it’s a parasitic relationship. There are no guarantees until the baby takes its first breath that it’s going to even survive the separation from the mother’s womb or the placenta etc. There are so many risks involved in childbirth itself, that until the baby is out in the world living and breathing, I personally don’t regard it as being a fully fledged human being/person.

    Now having said all of that, personally I would balk at the idea of an abortion at 8 months and 21 days. However, I don’t believe it’s my place to dictate to any other woman what she should or shouldn’t do in that situation. It’s the woman’s body, she has the right to bodily integrity, and she should have the right to choose.

  119. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 24th August, 2007 at 1:27 am  

    Katy Newton,

    Youre crazy you know. When did I ever say that women use abortion as birth control? Never. However I believe that the vast majority of them do. Now you can put me on blast. Yes, it is a difficult thing to do- carry to term the child of a rape but so what. It should be just as difficult if not more to abort the child of rape. Women need to view that child as just as much theirs as the man that raped her. Babies should be defined by the crime.

    I would hope, and pray that I had the strength, if that should ever happen to me, to view that child as my own because technically MY egg was apart of the conception. Its not just his, its mine as well. I would hate to create another victim from this crime by abortion.

  120. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 24th August, 2007 at 1:28 am  

    That is “Babies shouldnt be defined by the crime.”

  121. Katy — on 24th August, 2007 at 1:32 am  

    Youre crazy you know.

    That is true.

  122. Katy — on 24th August, 2007 at 1:34 am  

    And I respect your choice. I would never say that women who have been raped should have an abortion. I would never say that anyone should. I only say that it should be the woman’s decision, because it is she who has to have the baby.

  123. Sunny — on 24th August, 2007 at 2:45 am  

    I would hate to create another victim from this crime by abortion.

    Bikhair this is about choice. So you have the right to make that choice and keep the baby. But not everyone thinks or feels along the same lines. Hence, the point here is to give them that choice.

    Anyway, that argument to me is broadly irrelevant anyway. I don’t believe a baby is defined as a life until it is delivered. Not at the time of conception.

  124. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:03 am  

    Two people rape someone’s baby, and you find it puzzling that people get upset about it? How quaint.

    Get overly upset by it, but yeah i don’t and didn’t get the mass tabloid hysteria. From all i read about the case the baby had no permanent physical damage and obviously will have no memory of the event.

    Your argument about “minimum impact” seems misplaced. The truth of the matter is that babies are sentient beings, they do react to their surroundings, to the people around. Just because they are “worthless” based on your narrow definition, it does not mean it is less disgusting. But I can see you also think animals can be kicked around, because they are worthless.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on the sentience of new born babies, but wrt to animals…well im no peta member. If you want to force feed them to fatten up their kidneys go ahead. I wouldn’t say they’re worthless as some are quite tasty and others are entertaining, but on the whole any ‘worth’ is a function of potential use for humans rather than them having their own ‘rights’ (imo)

  125. Jai — on 24th August, 2007 at 10:41 am  

    Soso,

    Thank-you Jai…..They were surrouonded by lots of support and love in their final days, and accepted their deaths with a dignity that few of us can muster.

    I’m glad to hear it (to use a cliche, these situations really do “concentrate one’s mind” and make one reassess what’s really important in life, don’t they ?). My own friend died due to a sudden accident as opposed to a protracted illness, so you can imagine the subsequent impact on everyone concerned. To say that it was a “shock” would be a massive understatement.

    The experience was so traumatic and ao transformative that my life is in two compartments: one labelled ‘before AIDS’ and the other ‘after AIDS’.

    I know exactly what you mean.

    Thank you very much for the rest of your comment; very kind of you and tremendously appreciated.

  126. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 11:06 am  

    Sunny – you don’t think there is a difference between a foetus that is 40 days old and one that is say 28 weeks? Something you can actually feel and see has been formed?

  127. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 11:09 am  

    I know I said I would agree to disagree, but I suppose I just find it hard to comprehend…it would be easy to have an abortion, both morally and emotionally if people accepted that a child was not a child till birth even though after a specific number of weeks it would be viable if delivered early…

  128. Jai — on 24th August, 2007 at 12:40 pm  

    Cath,

    So I gave my personal opinion. Now you’re asking for my professional medical supporting evidence! Well guess what? I don’t have any.

    With all due respect, if you’re going to make statements regarding foetal development and neonatal viability, particularly in relation to sensitive and highly-controversial topics such as abortion, and especially if you’re going to write articles on high-profile websites such as CIF, then it’s absolutely critical that you are fully informed about the medical facts concerned, or at least can point to suitable sources to indicate where you’re getting your information from. Otherwise, saying things like “a foetus isn’t actually alive until it’s born” is just a subjective (and highly inaccurate) opinion, it’s certainly not a medical/scientific fact. The same applies to multiple other statements you have made throughout this discussion.

    It’s one thing to hold a certain attitude and belief-system where the impact of acting on such beliefs is confined to oneself; however, all this becomes even more dangerous when you take these opinions into the public domain as there is then a serious risk of misleading other people, regardless of how well-intentioned you may be. It is dangerous enough that “Average Joe” (and “Josephine”) who may not necessarily have any in-depth medical knowledge to fully grasp or accurately interpret the facts at hand themselves may be taking the other party’s viewpoints on trust and in good faith, but if the other person concerned is making these statements as though they were inalienable scientific facts and is acting as a voice of authority on the subject, despite having no relevant medical credentials, academic training, or professional experience in the subject, then it’s a case of the one-eyed woman leading the blind.

    I’ll supply some brief facts: All major organs have begun significant development by the 8th week of pregnancy. An unborn child’s heart is actually beating by the 5th week (assuming that you regard cardiac activity as the primary indication of “life”). By the 9th-10th week, it can make a fist with its fingers and would be able to curl its fingers around another object if stimulated. I could carry on, but for the benefit of laypersons without any academic or professional experience in this area, I guess I can provide the following as the best source of information for the timeline of prenatal development: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_prenatal_development and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetus ). However, if you or anyone else here on PP is under the impression that the unborn foetus is some kind of Frankenstein-like developing inanimate object that suddenly bursts into life with it’s first gasp of air upon birth, then I’m afraid you’re very much mistaken. These are the hard, solid medical and scientific facts, and frankly I’m staggered by the level of medical ignorance being perpetrated by some people here. It’s like listening to some witch-doctors or cult leaders foisting half-baked propaganda onto their gullible followers.

    But what I do know is that up until the point of birth, the foetus is totally dependent on the mother for survival; as kulvinder has so eloquently stated, it’s a parasitic relationship.

    As Ravi has accurately stated, the baby is totally dependent on its mother (and the other parent, if he’s around) for survival after birth too, and for a considerable period afterwards. To use your and Kulvinder’s terminology, it’s a “parasitic” relationship for a considerable time in the early period of the child’s life.

    There are no guarantees until the baby takes its first breath that it’s going to even survive the separation from the mother’s womb or the placenta etc.

    There are no guarantees that the baby is going to survive after it “takes its first breath” either, and the chances are very low indeed if it’s left to fend for itself.

    There are so many risks involved in childbirth itself, that until the baby is out in the world living and breathing, I personally don’t regard it as being a fully fledged human being/person.

    Perhaps a more accurate explanation would be that you choose not to regard it as a “fully-fledged person” due to the risk of prenatal or neonatal mortality. This doesn’t mean that it’s not a “full” human being regardless, but at least let’s be honest and acknowledge that you’re consciously misinterpreting the facts in order to attempt to reduce the trauma of the foetus not surviving to full term (either due to medical problems or external intervention). Basically, it looks like this viewpoint is being promoted by retroactively distorting the scientific facts as it would make the experience “easier” on the women concerned. Less painful if the death is accidental/due to medical complications, and (no doubt from the perspective of certain other people and groups with their own agenda to promote) less cause for remorse if the pregnancy is terminated, especially if it’s not due to rape/incest/etc. Pretending that the foetus isn’t actually “alive” or even a human in the real sense makes all this much easier.

    It’s the woman’s body, she has the right to bodily integrity, and she should have the right to choose.

    The bottom line is that you’re saying she has the right to kill her unborn child for whatever reason she chooses, and you’re deliberately choosing to believe that the child isn’t actually “alive” until the moment of birth in order to make such decisions morally acceptable.

    It’s the woman’s body, she has the right to bodily integrity,

    Which is the whole point. I don’t believe anyone else should have the right to dictate what a woman should do with her own body either, but the issue here is that it’s not just her body we’re talking about. There’s another body developing inside her, and it is a separate life, not just a physical extension of the woman’s own body.

  129. Jai — on 24th August, 2007 at 12:54 pm  

    In addition equating the life of a new born baby that has little or no sentience to that of any other non-comatose human is bizarre. It wouldn’t bother me the least if the new born was killed,

    Kulvinder, you are admitting that you condone infanticide, and that such actions don’t bother you at all. And that you’re not excessively troubled by people raping an infant, because you’ve managed to rationalise that there will allegedly not be any long-term psychiatric or physical damage to the child (what’s your evidence for this, by the way ? Please supply verifiable sources for this. Unless it’s just guesswork, assumption, and another highly-subjective “opinion” on your part).

    I’m assuming you wouldn’t have a problem with killing severely mentally-handicapped adults either, as you would judge their lives to be “worthless” compared to fully-functioning adults.

    I’ve said this before on PP, Kulvinder; you have a severe problem with the concept of empathy and compassion, and the fact that you are apparently able to be so cold-blooded about these topics whilst finding the notion of more humane attitudes to be confusing and bizarre indicates that you have tangible psychiatric issues, practically bordering on sociopathic or even psychopathic. Especially where children are concerned, apparently (based on your previous remarks on this blog too).

    Sunny, with all due respect (and I know this is your blog), I really don’t think you should give someone like this any exposure on your website. Freedom of speech and diversity of opinions is an excellent concept, but in this case we’re talking about a dangerous individual with potentially clinical behavioural problems.

  130. Don — on 24th August, 2007 at 1:20 pm  

    Or a poseur.

  131. Katherine — on 24th August, 2007 at 1:36 pm  

    I’m responding to Red Maria a little late on the issue of the membership consultation, but here it is. I’m afraid she is talking from a standpoint of ignorance.

    The results she quotes were the results of the AIUK membership consultation. The AIUK is not the international movement in its entirety, it is part of the international movement. In fact, AIUK abstained at the recent ICM debate and vote on this because of the ambiguity of the result and the AIUK AGM votes on the issue.

    However, the results at the ICM were overwhelmingly in favour of the limited policy outlined in question one of the AIUK consultation questionnaire. AIUK was one of three branches that abstained.

  132. Katherine — on 24th August, 2007 at 1:59 pm  

    And re Tim @ #76 – you are also speaking from ignorance of AI’s past and current mission and activities. Rumbold is simply incorrect that Amnesty campaigns for universal healthcare and education, for example. He has taken a statement from the AI website, which is a repetition of parts of international human rights covenant, and translated that to “campaigns”. I’m afraid that he is clearly ignorant of what AI is currently actually campaigning on. And you likewise.

    Also, the fact that you personally think that Amnesty should remain on its “core mission”, whatever you think that means, is rather irrelevant given that Amnesty is a membership based organisation of 2 million. It’s not a government or state actor, it is obliged to listen to its membership. If you want to have a say on what Amnesty campaigns on, then I suggest you become a member.

    And as to Amnesty’s core mission, it’s mission is and always has been to campaign for human rights. The basis for those human rights is generally (but not exclusively) international covenants on the subject that state (and other) actors can be required to comply with. This is the UNHCR and other such international covenants like CEDAW and ICESCR. The work on abortion, which arose out of observations that rape was being used as a weapon of war in Darfur, was done under the auspices of the Stop Violence Against Women campaign which comes under the auspices of CEDAW.

  133. Katherine — on 24th August, 2007 at 2:01 pm  

    And I’ve just got to say that the accusation that Amnesty has been attacking the Catholic Church is nothing short of preposterous. Each and every Amnesty statement on the Catholic Church’s response to this has been in direct and specific response to something said by the Church itself about Amnesty, not the other way around. They have been deliberately reactive. The attacker is the Catholic Church, not Amnesty.

  134. Sunny — on 24th August, 2007 at 2:12 pm  

    Sunny – you don’t think there is a difference between a foetus that is 40 days old and one that is say 28 weeks? Something you can actually feel and see has been formed?

    Sofia, we live in a bizarre world. People spend all their time fetishising and arguing over babies that haven’t been born, and trying to protect them, but no one cares about animals who are way more intelligent (at that stage) and also have lives/emotions etc.

  135. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 2:28 pm  

    huh? your point being these issues are mutually exclusive?
    anyway…i’m definitely leaving it at this…

  136. Sunny — on 24th August, 2007 at 2:42 pm  

    Well, I’m just saying that I would prefer if people imposed their standards or argued for them more consistently. Unborn babies, to my mind, have little sense of understanding, self or knowledge that makes them “a life that should be saved at all costs”. It’s a woman’s body and she should choose what happens with it.

  137. Cath — on 24th August, 2007 at 2:51 pm  

    Jai – “It’s one thing to hold a certain attitude and belief-system where the impact of acting on such beliefs is confined to oneself; however, all this becomes even more dangerous when you take these opinions into the public domain as there is then a serious risk of misleading other people, regardless of how well-intentioned you may be”

    It’s an opinion piece Jai. I haven’t made “these statements as though they were inalienable scientific facts”, in fact in the cif piece I deliberately avoided making any mention of foetal viability etc.

    I’ve made it perfectly clear throughout that I’m coming at this from a feminist perspective, putting the rights and life of the woman ahead of the foetus. You were the one asking me for my personal opinion regarding when life begins, I gave it to you and made clear that this was indeed my personal interpretation. I certainly haven’t mislead anyone into thinking I’m any kind of scientific authority on the subject.

    We can go round and round all day with the medical/scientific argument and I could post medical evidence that differs from yours, but at the end of the day abortion is always going to be an ethical/moral choice for the individual concerned. My only concern is that women have the right to make that choice, and that their freedom to do so is not denied by religious idealogues or a patriarchal medical system.

    The bottom line, as I made clear in the article, is that denying abortion doesn’t stop women aborting. What would you prefer to see? Safe medical abortions or women shoving knitting needles into themselves? What’s your professional medical opinion on that one?

  138. Soso — on 24th August, 2007 at 2:53 pm  

    So you have the right to make that choice and keep the baby. But not everyone thinks or feels along the same lines. Hence, the point here is to give them that choice.

    Choice! Choice! Choice!

    Sunny, rape cases aside, why don’t women make a choice NOT to become pregnant.

    Why does the “choice” option only kick in AFTER someone has been sexually irresponsable?

    It’s as though women cannot do anything, that they are passife waifs incapable of direction or action unless they become pregnant.

    Do women only become sentient, self-directed beings once they’ve realised they’re carrying an “unwanted” pregnancy?

    Which, of course, just begs the question, because if the pregnancy is *unwanted* in the first place, then why on earth did you allow it to take hold?

    If women would just assume responsability for their reproductive capacities and potential, then the enitre abortion debate would end, wouldn’t it?

    To date the only country to have successfully reduced HIV AIDS is Uganda, which uses an abstinence-driven policy.

    Quite true and oh so revealing!

    The whole condom question is a dishonest red herring that is costing counteless thousands of lives.

    On this side of The Atlantic it’s the same situation; everyone hands out condoms, thereby encouraging promiscuity, and no one has enough brains to suggest abstinence as ONE option.

    Result? An explosion of teen pregnancies and a rise in HIV infection rates.

    And as I said in an earlier post, heightened sexual promiscuity is an absolute necessity, an essential pre-requisite for the marketing of practically every product the under 50 crowd buys.

    If abstinence were in the cards, many of these ad campaigns would be ineffective or, at best, luke-warm in terms of sales potential.

    Abortion, too, plays a role in this..um…sales orgy because it pushes human reproduction right out of the sexual equation thereby diverting human sexuality and perverting it into becomming the handmaiden enabling, abetting and enhancing the potential for…um…market penetration.

    Pregnancies tend to render women less *available* and that loss of availablity has the potential to negatively affect sales figures, particularly the sale of more upscale merchandise of the kind that *claims* to enhance attractiveness.

    Pregnancies and children just get in the way.

  139. Sunny — on 24th August, 2007 at 2:57 pm  

    Sunny, rape cases aside, why don’t women make a choice NOT to become pregnant.

    Because they want to? Because it may be a mistake? Because they may be raped? Are you asking me to sum up all the different reasons for everyone?

    It’s a silly rhetorical question.

    As Cath says above:
    The bottom line, as I made clear in the article, is that denying abortion doesn’t stop women aborting. What would you prefer to see? Safe medical abortions or women shoving knitting needles into themselves? What’s your professional medical opinion on that one?

    Let’s have people address that point about asking stupid questions like why women get pregnant.

  140. Katy — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:17 pm  

    I am bitterly amused at the way this discussion has centred entirely upon women’s promiscuity and women’s self-control and women’s responsibility.

    FACT: it takes two people to make a baby, not one.

    So when Soso says

    If women would just assume responsability for their reproductive capacities and potential, then the enitre abortion debate would end, wouldn’t it?

    what he is really saying is that women should take responsibility, not only for their own behaviour, but for the behaviour of men, who apparently shouldn’t be expected to exercise any sort of self-control at all.

    Women who are raped, of course, must take responsibility for the man’s behaviour even though it was imposed upon them against their will.

    Sweet.

  141. Katy — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:22 pm  

    Otherwise, saying things like “a foetus isn’t actually alive until it’s born” is just a subjective (and highly inaccurate) opinion, it’s certainly not a medical/scientific fact.

    There is no medical or scientific definition of when a foetus can be considered to be alive. All statements on that topic are subjective opinion; none of them are medical/scientific fact; there are a multiplicity of opinions within the medical profession itself as to when a foetus can be considered to be alive.

    In law, however, a foetus is alive when it is born and not before, or so I understand.

  142. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:24 pm  

    Katy if I have sole responsibility for having an abortion, then surely I should have the responsibility for why I got into that situation in the first place..(rape, incest, drunkenness etc aside)..following on from your comment if it takes two to make a baby then should it take both to make the decision to abort? or is it only in that case the right of the woman..if it is only the right of the woman then surely she has to question her own role in the situation…

  143. Sunny — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:29 pm  

    then surely I should have the responsibility for why I got into that situation in the first place..

    So it’s a woman’s fault if she gets raped?

  144. Katy — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:30 pm  

    *sigh*

    All right. Sometimes women who have cancer discover that they are pregnant, and many of them have abortions because they can’t have radiotherapy and chemotherapy whilst they are pregnant.

    How many of you would make it against the law for a woman with cancer to have an abortion in order to have life-saving treatment?

  145. Katy — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

    No no, what Sofia is saying is that it’s not the woman’s fault if she was raped, or, for some reason, if it was the result of consensual incest, or, for some reason, if she was drunk.

  146. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:36 pm  

    Sunny I did say rape, incest, drunkenness aside…

  147. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

    I think I should make it clear i’m talking about cases which a woman cannot control the situation as opposed to situations where they can

  148. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:40 pm  

    aaaghh sometimes I hate debates like this because neither “side” is going to get the other to understand their view point…

  149. Ravi Naik — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

    I think Pickled Politics deserves praise for attracting people with different positions, and mature enough to have a conversation that can help us understand this and other issues in a deeper way. Good stuff.

    One of the things I have learnt is why we don’t seem to have a consensus on this issue. Both camps, the pro-choice and the anti-abortionists seem to prefer to forget the facts in order consolidate their positions, and also make caricatures of the other camp.

    Let’s begin with the pro-choice crowd. Some people in this camp just prefer to be in denial on the fact that at some point in the pregnancy you have a living entity. To claim that minutes before being out of the womb, you have a sort of non-living thing, and immediately after the womb, you have a human is just sorry to say dishonest. Also the idea that this “thing” does not feel anything is also scientifically wrong, either inside the womb or during the period in which she does not have conscious of herself. Traumas experienced by babies will go through adulthood, although they can be manifested in different ways. The “parasitic” thesis is also misguided, considering most of us want to have babies because it complete us, and perhaps one day when we get older, we might become “parasites” out of them. So I would call it symbiosis… or someone who say it is just a manifestation of survival of our species. Also, I find it dangerous that we quantify humanity based on what we perceive to be intelligence and self-reliance. Not that you were the first to think about this, unfortunately.

    Let us move to the anti-abortionist crowd, or the “stupid, stupid” crowd as Katy calls it. They believe that human life is always worth saving, and that nature should always take its course. Hence, abortions should never be induced even when a mother’s life is at risk. They also have this caricature that women somehow would rather go through abortions than use the pill or other birth control methods, if they had that choice.

    My view on this subject after 140 messages is this. We can all agree that abortions should be avoided, and that pregnancies should be planned. And I believe that a mother who does not want a child for whatever reason at one particular time, will probably not be a good mother in the first place. Some have argued with pretty good data to back it up, that in the US, since that famous rulling which legalised abortions in the 1970′s, is directly responsible for the reduced crime in the 90′s. It is a no brainer if you think about the role of the family as the first entry to society for the child.

    Abortion, in my view, is not the disease, but rather a symptom of other illness. India’s infanticide problem is the result of the unfairness of the dowry. In Russia, abortions were the result of lack of other means of birth control. Now, abortions have dropped considerably. So I think the Church is incredibly misguided (not evil, which is another caricature) when it focuses on abortions, rather than why women have abortions in the first place.

    Hence, I find the most sensible position is to be pro-choice, but I wish people on that camp were less in denial and somewhat more honest about the fact there is little difference between what exists minutes before and after the baby is born.

  150. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

    Kulvinder, you are admitting that you condone infanticide, and that such actions don’t bother you at all. And that you’re not excessively troubled by people raping an infant, because you’ve managed to rationalise that there will allegedly not be any long-term psychiatric or physical damage to the child (what’s your evidence for this, by the way ? Please supply verifiable sources for this. Unless it’s just guesswork, assumption, and another highly-subjective “opinion” on your part).

    Well its better than making seemingly arbitary judgements on how many weeks constitutes an acceptable point of termination.

    I don’t remember being a newborn baby or having any sense of self and i don’t know anyone who does, if victim impact is a factor of justice i don’t see how its possible to say that a situation where someone has no comprehension of what happened or any recall of that event is ‘worse’ than one where they did.

    For the sake of argument – and from the point of victim impact – id take it as given that the rape of a conscious adult female was a far graver crime than if the same event had occured whilst she was in a coma and she was not aware of what happened. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any recourse to justice in the latter crime (far from it), rather that it has a demonstrably ‘lesser’ impact on the victim.

    If you don’t think victim impact should be taken into account so be it, but if you do theres little point in ignoring these kinds of issues.

    I’m assuming you wouldn’t have a problem with killing severely mentally-handicapped adults either, as you would judge their lives to be “worthless” compared to fully-functioning adults.

    This is really little more than an argument over semantics, someone who is ‘brain dead’ is on one end of a scale of ‘loss of mental function’ not some special vague category of their own. We do terminate those whose mental disability is so severe that we cannot give them a realistic possibility of recovery. Theres little point in trying to gloss over that.

    What you’re asking is would i kill someone just because they were severly mentally handicapped. Well of course not, i’d defend their rights far more staunchly than you ever would. But neither do i stick my head in the sand about the fact we will happily let someone die if their mental disability is so severe that despite the rest of their body being ‘alive and well’ we choose to view them as being in some sort of living death.

    I’ve said this before on PP, Kulvinder; you have a severe problem with the concept of empathy and compassion, and the fact that you are apparently able to be so cold-blooded about these topics whilst finding the notion of more humane attitudes to be confusing and bizarre indicates that you have tangible psychiatric issues, practically bordering on sociopathic or even psychopathic. Especially where children are concerned, apparently (based on your previous remarks on this blog too).

    <3

    Sunny, with all due respect (and I know this is your blog), I really don’t think you should give someone like this any exposure on your website. Freedom of speech and diversity of opinions is an excellent concept, but in this case we’re talking about a dangerous individual with potentially clinical behavioural problems.

    Dangerous individual?!!? I assume this is your professional opinion based on

    Or a poseur.

    Ah but if i was id go somewhere with a more appreciative audience.

  151. Jai — on 24th August, 2007 at 3:58 pm  

    Cath,

    I’ve made it perfectly clear throughout that I’m coming at this from a feminist perspective, putting the rights and life of the woman ahead of the foetus.

    Fine, but in this case please ensure that any scientific statements you make to support your arguments are factually accurate.

    For my part, I should also make it perfectly clear that I’m coming at this from a humanitarian perspective, putting the rights and life of the foetus ahead of the woman because it’s in a weaker and more vulnerable position. You can of course attempt to circumvent that by claiming that “it’s not really human until it’s born” and, by inference, that it’s not therefore deserving of the same human rights and compassion that the mother is, but we will have to agree to disagree here.

    What would you prefer to see? Safe medical abortions or women shoving knitting needles into themselves?

    It depends on the reasons for the abortions, as I’ve clearly stated from the beginning. If the pregnancy’s a result of extreme circumstances such as rape, incest etc, or there is some medical complication which puts the mother’s life in clear & present danger, then she should get the maximum medical assistance and support available in terms of “safe” abortions.

    However, if the abortion is desired simply because having the baby would be “inconvenient”, or if the mother simply changes her mind, or (to use a pertinent example for Indians) it’s the “wrong” gender, then my answer is No. And doctors should certainly not be involved in carrying out abortions in these circumstances, not least because of their oaths to “do no harm”. There is a difference between carrying out an abortion to save the woman’s life, and doing it for the other reason’s I’ve just mentioned at the start of this paragraph.

    Which again brings me to the question I’ve already asked (and which Ravi’s also mentioned), and which none of the pro-choice-no-matter-what advocates here have answered:

    If a woman wishes to terminate her pregnancy because it’s going to be a daughter and she wants a son instead, should she have both the right and the medical assistance to do so ?

    Yes or No ? Please answer the question, people.

  152. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

    I asked that question a while ago…still no answer

  153. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:05 pm  

    As Ravi has accurately stated, the baby is totally dependent on its mother (and the other parent, if he’s around) for survival after birth too, and for a considerable period afterwards. To use your and Kulvinder’s terminology, it’s a “parasitic” relationship for a considerable time in the early period of the child’s life.

    This is unfair on cath, the original context was of an unwanted biological dependancy. If we’re going to completely ignore framework, every sperm is sacred.

    The “parasitic” thesis is also misguided, considering most of us want to have babies because it complete us, and perhaps one day when we get older, we might become “parasites” out of them. So I would call it symbiosis… or someone who say it is just a manifestation of survival of our species.

    ditto, we’re debating abortion – the point is not wanting the life living inside you. The ‘fact’ that most people may want babies is besides the point

  154. Jai — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:08 pm  

    Kulvinder,

    don’t remember being a newborn baby or having any sense of self and i don’t know anyone who does, if victim impact is a factor of justice i don’t see how its possible to say that a situation where someone has no comprehension of what happened or any recall of that event is ‘worse’ than one where they did…..For the sake of argument – and from the point of victim impact – id take it as given that the rape of a conscious adult female was a far graver crime than if the same event had occured whilst she was in a coma and she was not aware of what happened.

    No, the opposite is a worse crime in all of these scenarios because the victims are in less of a position to defend themselves against such actions compared to someone who is not in a coma, or is an adult compared to an infant. The victim is weaker and more vulnerable in these situations, which makes the attacker’s violation of them more abhorrent and the crime greater.

    Well of course not, i’d defend their rights far more staunchly than you ever would.

    Don’t make assumptions. You have no idea how “staunchly” I’d defend their rights and therefore you have no basis for comparison here.

    Dangerous individual?!!? I assume this is your professional opinion based on

    It’s based on common sense. Nice try, though.

  155. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:08 pm  

    If a woman wishes to terminate her pregnancy because it’s going to be a daughter and she wants a son instead, should she have both the right and the medical assistance to do so ?

    Yes, obviously.

    Her society only has itself to blame when 20 years down the line it faces collapse as there aren’t enough women.

  156. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

    kulvinder so “her” society should a) either sort out its mysogyny or b) stop abortions based on gender selection?

  157. Sunny — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

    Sunny, with all due respect (and I know this is your blog), I really don’t think you should give someone like this any exposure on your website. Freedom of speech and diversity of opinions is an excellent concept, but in this case we’re talking about a dangerous individual with potentially clinical behavioural problems.

    Lol! he’s not a dangerous individual. Please play the ball, not the man. Just because he doesn’t make conventional arguments doesn’t make him dangerous.

  158. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

    No, the opposite is a worse crime in all of these scenarios because the victims are in less of a position to defend themselves against such actions compared to someone who is not in a coma, or is an adult compared to an infant. The victim is weaker and more vulnerable in these situations, which makes the attacker’s violation of them more abhorrent and the crime greater.

    Really? I’ve never heard an argument like that used before. Is a male victim of rape a ‘lesser’ victim than a female? (assuming we’re basing this on comparative ability to fight back)

    It’s based on common sense. Nice try, though.

    Being common is far to dull for my liking.

  159. Cath — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

    Jai – “If a woman wishes to terminate her pregnancy because it’s going to be a daughter and she wants a son instead, should she have both the right and the medical assistance to do so ?”

    No. I’ve just answered this one at the bottom of the cif thread, we’re having exactly this debate on there. Sorry for cross posting Sunny, but this is my take on it:

    I’m completely opposed to sex selective abortion; it’s just another way for patriarchal societies to discriminate against females. In the other scenarios, the abortion is about the impact of having a child on the mother’s life, be it her economic future or whatever. Sex selective abortion has nothing to do with this, it’s about the value, or lack of it, that a society places on females. I know there’s the argument that in this case having a girl will negatively impact on the woman’s life, but I think condoning abortion purely on the grounds of gender gives a tacit acceptance to sex discrimination. Plus of course there are now serious concerns about the gender imbalance this has created in some countries, and the long term implications of this.

    I think there’s a difference between supporting a woman’s right to determine what she does with her body and her life, and supporting someone’s right to discriminate. So if someone was to say “I have room in my life for a child, I have the means to support that child, but actually I don’t want this particular one because of x,y or z,” then I see that as being a separate argument.

    I can completely understand why, in certain patriarchal societies where female lives are held to be of less worth than male, women would choose to abort on the grounds of gender. However, our fight surely has to be in promoting a society whereby this kind of thinking is unnacceptable, where both male and female are held to be of equal worth.

    And yes Jai, I accept that there’s an inconsistency in my argument, and it’s one I struggle with trust me.

  160. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:22 pm  

    kulvinder so “her” society should a) either sort out its mysogyny or b) stop abortions based on gender selection?

    I’m not really sure what the benefit of (b) would be. Banning people from aborting based on gender wouldn’t solve the problems of misogyny in society. You’re treating the symptom not the cause. Better for society to just sort itself out, so id say (a).

    Interestingly the relative worth of a female would obviously increase in a gender-skewed society. The concept of a dowry came into existence because women were seen as a burden. It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that the family of the bridegroom would have to pay substantial amounts to the bride in order to get married.

  161. Sunny — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:24 pm  

    To follow up what Cath says, I don’t approve of girls being murdered before birth or after birth because they are female.

    But that happens because society is disciminating against women and there is gross inequality of the sexes. I don’t approve of it but I can see why it happens. And there is a solution for it too – making society more equal.

    But there is no solution as such generally to abortions because even in equal societies a woman may make the personal choice not to go ahead with the pregnancy. And then denying that choice may lead to more harm against her.

  162. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:26 pm  

    Kath – So if a woman in India where it is “easier” financially to bring up a son, says, I cannot give birth to a girl because of financial reasons, then is that ok? its not about discrimination its about reality and what the woman can deal with…
    In most of this blog we’ve argued over viability and when a child is a child..if a foetus is male or female..following the argument on viability, you shouldn’t give a toss because it isn’t a human life till it’s born…?? it’s easy to say you’re inconsistent when you’re talking about ice cream flavours…not when you’re talking about life.

  163. Katy — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:28 pm  

    I wish people on that camp were less in denial and somewhat more honest about the fact there is little difference between what exists minutes before and after the baby is born.

    No. I am not in denial on this at all. I accept that there are arguments to say that a foetus is a life from the point of conception and I accept that a baby is just as much alive in the five seconds before it leaves the womb as it is five seconds later.

    The fact is that the vast majority of women have abortions long before the foetus is anywhere near to being viable on its own. I make a moral call. And my moral call is that, at 20 weeks and below, the woman’s emotional and physical well-being and her right to choose are more important than the potential life of the foetus inside her. This is not about denial. It’s about competing values. Do I think that women should be allowed to have abortions when they’re 6 or 7 months gone? No – not unless it is a stark choice between the life of the foetus and the life of the woman, and if a woman freely chose to save the foetus over herself I would respect that choice just as I would respect her choice to save herself.

    I think of all the things I find most offensive on this page, it is the repeated image of women who have abortions as drunk, irresponsible sluts who couldn’t be bothered with birth control and don’t see why they should face the consequences of their actions. Every woman makes a moral choice when they have an abortion and it is never an easy decision.

  164. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:44 pm  

    I don’t agree with this image you think has been coming out of this discussion…I have put across again and again, rape and drunkenness aside, because often these are used as examples..abortion is never an easy “choice”, what i find exception to, are the number of teenagers who are having abortions, women aborting female foetuses, and unwanted pregnancies due to not using any form of contraception, ending in abortion. When an adult woman of sound mind, (not drunk) decides to have sex, then she should take responsibility for ensuring she does not fall pregnant, because if she does, it will be her who will have to either have the child or abort it..not the man she sleeps with. And if she still falls pregnant then you can’t really blame anyone. I wouldn’t even know where to start on teenage pregnancies, because the moment you start talking about abstinence you’re either a religious zealot or a tory supporter..i’m neither, but I do believe there is a case for abstinence if you are 14. It makes me sad that sex is seen as something without responsibility and much as we don’t really want to be thinking about possible repurcussions while we’re having sex, surely it should be at the back of our minds…not sure what they teach kids at school nowadays apart from “you have the choice” “don’t feel pressured” bullshit…that’s really worked hasn’t it…

  165. The Common Humanist — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:46 pm  

    165 Katy – Now that is absolutley right.

    I too am incredibly offended by people categorising women who have abortions as sluts etc.

  166. Sunny — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

    I don’t agree with this image you think has been coming out of this discussion…I have put across again and again, rape and drunkenness aside, because often these are used as examples..abortion is never an easy “choice”

    Yeah, I apologise for misreading your point earlier. I don’t think that of your comments.

    .i’m neither, but I do believe there is a case for abstinence if you are 14.

    Agreed.

    It makes me sad that sex is seen as something without responsibility and much as we don’t really want to be thinking about possible repurcussions while we’re having sex, surely it should be at the back of our minds

    I don’t think teachers actively encourage kids to have sex at school. But there is sex education to make sure people are aware of the dangers in case they do, which in my way is the right option.

    Besides, Abstinence education hasn’t worked. Someone cited Uganda above… that was a sham too.

  167. The Common Humanist — on 24th August, 2007 at 4:51 pm  

    One of the key problems with sex education in the UK is that as we seem to have a significant generation (all under 25) who think that life is consequence free this has crept into physical relationships too.

    What really p*sses me off is that so little emphasis is put on male responsibility. There is no comebackon the man if anything goes wrong and there seems to be no emphasis on contraception being a 50/50 deal (in my view). After all we should be men not boys.

  168. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 5:01 pm  

    Sunny – that’s fine…
    post 169 – I do agree with you about men, but when it boils down to it, they don’t have abortions do they…so they don’t always go through the trauma..but are once removed…I think the onus should be on both to practice safe sex..although sex education at school does not really mention abstinence. The thing is, sex education is taught in a kind of social vacuum…stand alone without any thought to morals/religion etc…maybe it should be taught as part of something bigger…and other aspects should be discussed, not preached but debated. If teenagers want to have sex that’s their choice, but they should be allowed to explore other approaches to sex, not just the biological.
    I wish I could have a penny for every single teenage parent I came across cuz I’d be really rich right now…and I’d also like to have their “jobs” cuz all their kids seem to have the best push chairs, clothes and baby accessories. Maybe i’m just coming across the ones that are supported by their middle class parents… (Am I sounding like a tory again??)

  169. Ravi Naik — on 24th August, 2007 at 5:03 pm  

    “To follow up what Cath says, I don’t approve of girls being murdered before birth or after birth because they are female. “

    You said this: “Unborn babies, to my mind, have little sense of understanding… It’s a woman’s body and she should choose what happens with it.”

    Sunny, admit it, you are softening your position by use terms such as “murdering” and “girls” in the same context as “before birth”. ;)

  170. Sofia — on 24th August, 2007 at 5:04 pm  

    Sunny – thanks to this debate, i’ve not done as much work as I shouldve and now i’m feeling guilty as hell..roll on logging on to work emails at home….:):)…
    hope you all have a brill weekend and get some sun…

  171. Katy — on 24th August, 2007 at 5:07 pm  

    When an adult woman of sound mind, (not drunk) decides to have sex, then she should take responsibility for ensuring she does not fall pregnant, because if she does, it will be her who will have to either have the child or abort it..not the man she sleeps with. And if she still falls pregnant then you can’t really blame anyone

    I don’t disagree on that. I just think it’s up to her what she does about it.

    I am not sure that you can really say that having the baby=taking responsibility and not having the baby=abdicating responsibility. A very close friend of mine fell pregnant when she was in her mid-20s, living in a foreign country and in a long-term relationship (like six or seven years) that was starting to go wrong. They had no money. She agonised about whether or not to have an abortion and in the end she concluded that she had no choice, because she had no money – she couldn’t pay for childcare, her parents were hundreds of miles away, she’d have had to stop working, they wouldn’t have been able to afford to live in their flat – and it was clear that they weren’t going to last much longer.

    So she had the abortion. With her boyfriend’s blessing, but to be honest in the circumstances I don’t think that him wanting the baby would have changed her mind. It just wasn’t possible. He wasn’t in a position to take care of the baby himself; it wasn’t as if she could have the baby and then give it to him. He had no money to give her to pay for childcare and at the end of the day, as I say, BOTH of them had made the baby, not just her. She was on the Pill and it failed. And she acted quickly and had her abortion within 6 weeks of the birth.

    I think that in those circumstances the decision to have an abortion was a responsible decision. Arguably it is considerably more responsible than having the baby and turning to the taxpayer with your hand out for a house and benefits.

  172. Katy — on 24th August, 2007 at 5:11 pm  

    You see, that’s the reality of the situation. A lot of you seem to think that women shag their way round a load of nightclubs, wake up one morning and think “Ooh! I’m pregnant! Silly me. Hey ho. Abortion time.” I have never known a woman who’d look at it like that. Never.

  173. Sunny — on 24th August, 2007 at 5:20 pm  

    Sunny, admit it, you are softening your position by use terms such as “murdering” and “girls” in the same context as “before birth”.

    Lol, to me its always about intention. I don’t believe any woman takes the decision for abortion lightly, as Katy points out above.

    Even in the case of female infanticide, the problem isn’t the woman but a patriarchal society with skewed priorities.

  174. Cath — on 24th August, 2007 at 5:49 pm  

    Sofia – “it’s easy to say you’re inconsistent when you’re talking about ice cream flavours…not when you’re talking about life.”

    I disagree. If we don’t struggle with the big issues we’re no better than automatons surely. There aren’t any easy answers on an issue like this, that’s the whole point and that’s why there’s so much debate.

    I can’t say for sure that my stance is absolutely the right one, I could be completely wrong and find myself in hell having “to sit for eternity in suppurating pools of sulphur of my own making.” as someone so eloquently put it on the cif thread.

    It’s a risk I’m prepared to take obviously…

    Anyway, have a good weekend too, and thanks for the interesting debate.

  175. Red Maria — on 24th August, 2007 at 5:55 pm  

    Some might think caricaturing Pro-Lifers and misrepresenting their arguments as portraying aborting women as promiscuous sluts offensive.
    Some might think exaggerating the risks of childbirth intellectually stunted.
    Some might think it presumptuous for a pro-choicer to inform pro-lifers what they concentrate on.
    Pro-Lifers rightly raise the issue of late term abortions because they are particularly barbaric. Pro-choicers try to dismiss late term abortions as a tiny minority of the terminations carried out each year. Indeed they are a small minority – of the enormous annual total – but that minority still adds up to 2000+ abortions at 20 weeks gestation and above. 2000 late term abortions is by no means an insignificant figure. Its small percentage of the total only underlines what a vast amount of abortions take place. And that number continues to rise year on year, despite all the initiatives to promote and increase the free availability of birth control drugs and devices.
    We’re always informed by pro-choicers that sex “education” and more more more birth control will reduce abortion rates. But it never happens.
    The morning after pill has been available over the counter since 2001. At the time, we were assured that this would reduce abortion rates. What happened? Abortion rates went up.

  176. Katy — on 24th August, 2007 at 6:05 pm  

    Are you going to link to statistics for us or are you just going to pluck them out of thin air?

    Oh, and when you have a moment, if you could dig out those stats to support your contention that women are using abortion “as birth control” that would be lovely.

    And, you know, if you could find a moment to take on one of my points and deal with it honestly instead of hiding behind weasel words and absurd extreme rhetoric, that would be lovely too.

    Have a good Bank Holiday, you.

  177. Red Maria — on 24th August, 2007 at 6:26 pm  
  178. Red Maria — on 24th August, 2007 at 6:34 pm  

    A few headlines serve to make the point even more clearly:

    “Abortion rates increase again” BBC 2007

    “100 teenagers a month having second abortion” Daily Telegraph 2007

    “Doubts raised over Emergency pill, Making emergency contraception more available has had no effect on cutting the abortion rate, an expert says.” BBC 2006

    “Abortion level at all time high” BBC 2006

    “Abortion rates continue to rise” BBC 2005

    “More women having abortions” BBC 2004

    “More schoolgirls under 14 having abortions” Daily Telegraph 2004.

  179. ad — on 24th August, 2007 at 6:46 pm  

    To ask you your question another way at what point are you personally ‘okay’ with switching off the life support machine of someone? The only sensible answer you can give is ‘it depends’. Every circumstance should be judged in its own right. The point at which a person can ‘decide for themselves’ is different for everyone.

    Kulvinder, it might well be that the only answer I can give is “it depends”. But it is not a sensible answer. If someone asks whether he has a right to kill his wife and I say “it depends”, that is not a useful response.

    You need some criteria that can be compared with the circumstances. Can I kill my infant after a week, a month, a year? Does it matter whether the infant is capable of speech? What?

    If everyone gets to decide for themselves, then every killing is justified, for every killer believes in his or her right to kill, at that moment.

    I’ve made it perfectly clear throughout that I’m coming at this from a feminist perspective, putting the rights and life of the woman ahead of the foetus.

    Cath, I must say that I find the abortion debate very entertaining. I can see two poles. One believes that human life begins at conception, largely on religious grounds. That is not much of an argument, if you happen not to be religious.

    The other starts from what might be called female nationalism: This position benefits women, therefore it should be supported. After that, people start looking for arguments that will lead to the desired conclusion.

  180. Soso — on 24th August, 2007 at 6:59 pm  

    Let’s have people address that point about asking stupid questions like why women get pregnant.

    But Sunny, that IS the question.

    If your pregnancy is *unwanted*, then why did you so foolishly allow it to happen in the first place? Are women helpless to the point of not being able to controle their own bodies?

    C’mon!

    Even in the case of female infanticide, the problem isn’t the woman but a patriarchal society with skewed priorities.

    Once again, you portray women as helpless waifs incapable of any intervention and devoid of all influence and control. ALL societies are patriarchal. Did it ever occur to you that you protray women this way because you, yourself, harbour patriachal sentiments?

    On this thread you’ve repeatedly depicted women as passive, disposessed non-beings unable and/or unwilling of making any choice except the choice to undergo an abortion.

    If women have choices to abort or not to abort, then should it surprise you that they also have a choice, apart from rape cases, whether not to become pregnant?

    We’re always informed by pro-choicers that sex “education” and more more more birth control will reduce abortion rates. But it never happens.Red Maria.

    That’s because their ultimate aim of *sex education*, Red Maria, is to keep the coffers of business and commerce clinking with coin by maintianing outrageous levels of promiscuity and then using that promiscuity as leverage to sell endless numbers of products marketed though sex.

    Were society to turn of the sex spiggot and promote more monogamy and abstinence, corporate access to our wallets would be severely compromised.

    A lot of you seem to think that women shag their way round a load of nightclubs

    Some women are sluts, Katy.

    In any case, Red Maria pretty much has you on the mat.

    One more thing, some medical ethicists are now suggesting that all handicapped foetus’ be aborted, and they are suggesting that this be done even if both father AND mother wish to keep the child.

    So far no word from the pro-choice crowd on this.

    And do you know why? Because when abortion was first legalised, an era most here can’t remember, precisely this probleme was raised by opponents, and heated reassurences were given by proponents that nothing of the sort would ever come to pass.

    It has.

    And these medical ethicists are not one from some two-bit correspondance college either, but rather Princeton.

    People at Princeton are so smart.

  181. Jen R — on 24th August, 2007 at 7:46 pm  

    However, the results at the ICM were overwhelmingly in favour of the limited policy outlined in question one of the AIUK consultation questionnaire.

    That means that the people in leadership positions in the sections were in favor of the new policy. It doesn’t say anything about whether those leaders were representing the will of their members — or even whether they bothered consulting them.

  182. Red Maria — on 24th August, 2007 at 8:31 pm  

    Neither has Amnesty even revealed the results of the ICM. All we are told – without any independent verification, by the way – is that delegations voted “overwhelmingly in favour of the policy”.
    So Amnesty ignored the results of its UK consultation, it deceived its US membership, it won’t reveal what the results of members ballots in other sections were, or even if there were members ballots – ten to one, there weren’t.
    And then it cynically smears the Catholic Church for “placing in peril its human rights work”, as though the Church somehow has an obligation to support Amnesty. Hence the ludicrous comments of Katherine above, that the Roman Catholic Church is the aggressor rather than Amnesty – which is the reverse of the truth.
    The question raised by an organisation which indulges in such deceitful practices as detailed by Jen R in an earlier post, an organisation which is now set to push for abortion to be removed from the purview of democratically elected governments, whether such an organisation should be supported by *anyone* who is committed to democracy.

  183. Bleh — on 24th August, 2007 at 9:18 pm  

    I’m no friend of Amnesty but to claim that a blood soaked corrupt organisation such as the RC Church is somehow superior takes the biscuit and the rest of the cheese barrel. To even have the gall to suggest this is, frankly, astonishing.

  184. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2007 at 9:23 pm  

    Kulvinder, it might well be that the only answer I can give is “it depends”. But it is not a sensible answer. If someone asks whether he has a right to kill his wife and I say “it depends”, that is not a useful response.

    Actually its the only viable answer in any general responce.

    Killing someone isn’t against the law in britain, only murder is. We don’t live in a pacifist society and killing someone if you think they pose a serious and immediate threat is perfectly fine. If the wife of the man in question tried to stab him to death id think it perfectly reasonable if he hit her on the head with a hammer (or something).

    You need some criteria that can be compared with the circumstances. Can I kill my infant after a week, a month, a year? Does it matter whether the infant is capable of speech? What?

    I’m not really sure what you’re trying to argue. I haven’t set out specific criteria that have to be met to satisfy me, i’ve simply pointed out we’re already ok with terminating the life of people we essentially don’t recognise as being human/alive/aware/sentient (delete as you see appropriate).

    I’m trying to juxtapose the fact we’re okay with killing those whose ‘mental capacity’ falls beneath a certain threshold or those whose ‘mental capacity’ hasn’t exceeded that threshold in the womb, but are squeamish if anyone is fine with that being done with someone outside the womb.

    If everyone gets to decide for themselves, then every killing is justified, for every killer believes in his or her right to kill, at that moment.

    You’re saying that in the context of essentially recognising everything as human/alive/aware/sentient (again delete as appropriate).

    Do you consider a woman who terminates her baby to be a murderer? What about the doctor who switches off a life support machine?

    I don’t because i don’t recognise those ‘things’ (terrible word, but i can’t think of anything else) as being humanbeings in a way i care to recognise.

    To me a newborn baby is essentially analogous to a pet – it is the property of the parents. Its ‘worth’ is inherently a fuction of its parents and not itself (contrast and compare with animal example above). Those of us who don’t have a problem with abortion only put ‘worth’ on a foetus if the mother puts worth on it. The foetus itself is simply a ‘thing’.

    I recognise your rights as being about you; on the other hand the foetus is inconsequential to me i recognise the rights of the mother and respect her wishes but the foetus doesn’t warrant any ‘stand alone’ input of its own. Similarly any ‘worth’ i put on a newborn is simply a projection of someone else rather than being something that is inherently about it.

    You may think thats weird but i think its the only rational position to take. I’m not advocating throwing newborns against a wall; all i’ve done is be honest about what i put value on and how i decide. As i said above if i had the choice of saving only an adult female or a newborn from a burning building i’d choose the adult female.

  185. Red Maria — on 24th August, 2007 at 9:26 pm  

    I think hysteria-filled anti-Catholic comments about the Church show the gall is all yours. But unlike you, I don’t find it astonishing. I rarely astonished by the irrational depths of vitriol anti-Catholic prejudice plumbs. As I said earlier, reason and prejudice don’t make good bedfellows. Anti-Catholicism is just another boring prejudice in a vast menu of boring prejudices.

  186. Katy Newton — on 24th August, 2007 at 10:39 pm  

    Right.

    Red Maria:

    It’s not my job to prove your case for you. You assert it – you prove it. And you’ll have to do better than a few alarmist headlines that say abortion rates are rising. All that means is that more women are choosing not to have children. It doesn’t begin to prove that women have, en masse, eschewed all forms of pre-conception birth control and taken to having completely unprotected sex on the basis that they can just get an abortion later, which is what “using abortion as birth control” means. If women were doing that the abortion rates would be many, many times higher than they are.

    Before you question my wit, lady, grow some of your own. And as for “boring prejudices”, you and your new mate Soso are full of them.

    Ah, Soso, there you are. Now you.

    Some women are sluts, Katy.

    The mere fact that you feel able to use the word “sluts” as freely as you do tells me everything I need to know about you and your mindset.

    In any case, Red Maria pretty much has you on the mat.

    No, she doesn’t, as you would know if you weren’t as demented on this subject as she is. She hasn’t even begun to address the arguments against her stance and nor have you. You think she’s right because she thinks the same as you do. It’s as simple as that.

    One more thing, some medical ethicists are now suggesting that all handicapped foetus’ be aborted, and they are suggesting that this be done even if both father AND mother wish to keep the child.

    That’s a lovely straw man you’ve got there. Did you make it yourself? Why, yes, you did – because no one on this thread has come anywhere near to suggesting that special needs children (we don’t say “handicapped anymore, by the way, it went out around the same time we stopped calling sexually active women “sluts) should be aborted at all, let alone against their parents’ wishes.

  187. Katy Newton — on 24th August, 2007 at 10:44 pm  

    Killing someone isn’t against the law in britain, only murder is. We don’t live in a pacifist society and killing someone if you think they pose a serious and immediate threat is perfectly fine.

    Kulvs, killing someone is against the law unless a jury is satisfied that you acted in self defence. It is never “perfectly fine” from a legal point of view. It is defensible in very rare circumstances, but I don’t think that’s quite the same thing.

  188. Katy Newton — on 24th August, 2007 at 11:11 pm  

    PS I agree 100% that under-16s should not be having abortions, for the very simple reason that I also don’t think they should be having sex. I am in favour of abstinence for under-16s. When I was a kid it was actually normal for under-16s not to be having sex. But it seems to me that abortion is not the problem there. The problem is the sexualisation of children before they are ready to deal with the consequences of having sex. I don’t think that an increase in the amount of teenagers having abortions is a good reason not to permit abortion full stop.

  189. Red Maria — on 25th August, 2007 at 12:00 am  

    Katy,

    The few “alarmist” headlines as you have described them are from stories which have accurately reported the consistently rising number of abortions performed annually. They are sourced from official figures, released annually by the ONS. No one – except perhaps you – doubts their veracity.

    What the figures show quite unambiguously is that abortions are being increasingly used and increasingly used by women at ever younger ages. At the same time we know that birth control has never been more promoted or freely available to teenagers. Since modern hormonal birth control methods are a highly reliable means of preventing pregnancy and since we are always being told that increased provision of birth control will inevitably reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions we can venture some reasonable inferences about the trend. We can reasonably infer that teenagers, who are now the highest aborting group, are not using birth control but instead are relying on abortion. If you have an alternative explanation I would be interested to read it.

    Incidentally, when I referred to boring anti-Catholic prejudices I was replying to a different poster, not you. Thus far, I have not read any anti-Catholic sentiments from you.

    Its difficult to address what you call the arguments against my stance, presumably ventured by yourself. Thus far, your arguments seem to have consisted of peculiar denials of verifiable facts ie that the abortion rate has increased, rude remarks to your interlocutors “stupid, stupid man”, “demented” and crude caricatures of Pro-Life positions – the notion that Pro-Lifers portray women as promiscuous drunken sluts, though I have not used any such terms. I submit that the person avoiding discussion of the substantive issues is you.

  190. Kulvinder — on 25th August, 2007 at 2:21 am  

    Kulvs, killing someone is against the law unless a jury is satisfied that you acted in self defence. It is never “perfectly fine” from a legal point of view. It is defensible in very rare circumstances, but I don’t think that’s quite the same thing.

    I’m not sure what your trying to say. By definition killing someone in self-defense is fine from a legal point of view assuming the CPS decides to pursue the case and a jury find you guilty.

  191. Kulvinder — on 25th August, 2007 at 2:23 am  

    nb If you’re saying it depends on the circumstance i suggest you read my original post a bit more carefully…

  192. Kulvinder — on 25th August, 2007 at 2:25 am  

    *assuming the CPS decides to pursue the case and the jury find you not guilty.

  193. Katy Newton — on 25th August, 2007 at 12:52 pm  

    Red Maria

    1. I did not deny that the abortion rate has risen. What I disagreed with was your reading of what that rise meant. I’ve made that very clear. I’m sorry you don’t get it.

    2. I haven’t misrepresented pro-life arguments at all. They do generally concentrate on late-stage abortions: that’s where they get the films of the foetuses as they’re being aborted. And like Soso, they do often imply that sexually active women are sluts. I’m afraid his stance on this thread has done the pro-life cause no favours in my eyes.

    3. I’m sorry you’re still trying to avoid answering the points that I’ve made. The fact that I’ve expressed myself in strong terms does not detract from their validity and it will not do to just pretend I haven’t made them, but I accept that you are not going to answer them.

    I’ll just finish by saying that if you are trying to win people over to the pro-life cause, you won’t do it by pretending that they haven’t made any arguments against it or refusing to answer them because you don’t like their tone. And that’s my final word on this.

  194. Ravi Naik — on 25th August, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

    “We can reasonably infer that teenagers, who are now the highest aborting group, are not using birth control but instead are relying on abortion. If you have an alternative explanation I would be interested to read it.”

    Red Maria, it is indeed a fact that abortions are increasing. And also a fact that birth control methods such as pills and condoms are widely available. But your inference insinuates that teenagers make a conscious decision to use abortions as birth control.

    And I don’t believe this is the case. I would argue that the problem is that a lot teenagers do not think about birth control, because if they did, they would use alternative methods. And I am not talking about morals… but of practicalities here: between popping a pill/using a condom, and going though an unwanted pregancy and abortion, it is a no-brainer even for a teenager.

    The problem is sex education. Teenagers are incredibly ill-informed, specially in matters of STDs and birth control. If the Catholic Church wanted to stop abortions, then it should be actively promoting sex education, because in a way, it is empowering teenagers to be responsible, which includes not having sex, and not being peer pressured to do stupid things.

  195. Ravi Naik — on 25th August, 2007 at 1:30 pm  

    “Do I think that women should be allowed to have abortions when they’re 6 or 7 months gone? No”

    Katy, is this the mainstream position of the “pro-choice” movement? Because when people in this comment box say it is a women’s body and she can do whatever she wants, they seem to imply that it is ok to perform abortions at any stage of the pregnancy.

  196. Cath — on 25th August, 2007 at 2:00 pm  

    Ravi Naik – I think the mainstream position would be a recognition that abortion at such a late stage would be very rare, and should be decided on a case by case basis. As I said further up the thread, there aren’t many who would argue for abortion on demand at any stage of the pregnancy.

    The pro-choice movement is focused on preserving the hard-won rights we have, and on fighting off attacks on the existing limits from the likes Anne Winterton. As Katy has pointed out, the focus on late-term abortion just detracts attention away from this, and is a standard pro-life tactic designed to muddy the debate.

  197. Soso — on 25th August, 2007 at 4:54 pm  

    The mere fact that you feel able to use the word “sluts” as freely as you do tells me everything I need to know about you and your mindset.

    And what would that be? That I’m awake enough and honest enough to call them as I see them? My mindset is one that wishes to see women being more pro-active and responsable for their own reproduction. I had no idea that encouraging women to be self-reliant and autonomous is now male chauvinism.

    In your mindset I suppose Heidi Fleiss was just a misunderstood Mother-Superior, and her stable of unveiled vixens mere novitiates in The-Little-Sisters-Of-Perpetual-Indulgence.

    Your image of women is completely retrograde, and your defence of their reproductive irresponsability is just a rehash, a make-over for CONNIE FRANCIS.

    Yes katy, women are innocent, hapless, helpless waifs sporting saddle-shoes and bouncy, flouncy crinolines.

    Femininity as high camp.

    Now, not wanting to deflate you bouffant, ‘n stuff, but the observation that SOME women, a MINORITY of women, are fond of reproductive irresponsability (sluts) is a truism. That irresponsability is probably the source of 90% of the abortions being carried out in the UK.

    I’ve the courage to see that, whereas you don’t.

    And have you forgotten that I’ve stated several times on this thread that I support abortion remaining LEGAL, WIDELY AVAILABLE and FREE?

    I’m not in the Pope’s pocket, you know!

    What I read between your lines is this; your conscience is beginning to tug at you enthusiasm for abortion, and you fight back by lashing out at anyone or any argument heightening that sentiment.

    And yer darn tootin’ Red Maria has you on the ropes!

    Hence your heated rhetoric.

  198. Katy Newton — on 25th August, 2007 at 8:51 pm  

    Yes katy, women are innocent, hapless, helpless waifs sporting saddle-shoes and bouncy, flouncy crinolines.

    Unbelievable that you can misrepresent my views like that and yet I’m the one accused of distorting yours. If people like you had their way then women would still be slaves to their reproductive systems, and yet you call MY attitude to women retrograde? You’re nothing but a good old-fashioned male chauvinist, Soso. Don’t kid yourself.

  199. Katy Newton — on 25th August, 2007 at 10:04 pm  

    your conscience is beginning to tug at you enthusiasm for abortion

    Hang on just a minute. Enthusiasm for abortion? I’m enthusiastic about choice, not abortion. What do you think, that I go around handing leaflets out with “Never Keep Your Baby” written on them? There is nothing on this thread that I have said which could possibly lead you to think that I’m enthusiastic about abortion itself. The fact is that, at 31, with a flexible job and independent means, there’s no way I’d have an abortion if I fell pregnant whether the father was around or not. I’ve always liked children and always planned to have them. But it isn’t a moral decision for me. It’s about what I want. I want children so I’d hardly have an abortion if I got pregnant. But if I didn’t want children, or if my circumstances meant that I couldn’t look after a child properly, and I got pregnant, I would have an abortion. There is no issue of conscience here for me, only one of personal preference and freedom of choice.

    Unlike you, I don’t think that having an abortion is copping out or ducking responsibility. I understand that not everyone is in my position and also that not everyone actually wants to have a child, and I think that anyone who doesn’t want to keep their baby shouldn’t have to.

  200. Soso — on 28th August, 2007 at 3:34 pm  

    If people like you had their way then women would still be slaves to their reproductive systems, and yet you call MY attitude to women retrograde?

    Once more, ( and for the 85th friggin’ time) I support abortion remaining legal, available and free.

    That’s *my way*, and I’m not kidding….I do not want to see abortion criminalised.

    Hang on just a minute. Enthusiasm for abortion? I’m enthusiastic about choice,

    Choices can be made at anytime, both before and after intercourse.

    One can make a choice about monogamy.

    One can make a choice about celibacy.

    One can make a choice about contraception.

    Choices are everywhere and can be acted upon at any time…..not just after the fact.

    May I suggest that YOU suggest to women that they get a little more “choosey” before they do it. SOME men won’t hesitate to leave you in a lurch, you know.

    Your *choice*, and the only one you ever seem to cite, is often, though not always, the sigh of the sexually irresponsable creature, katy.

    I’m, glad you like children, by the way.

  201. Katy Newton — on 28th August, 2007 at 4:16 pm  

    I am glad that we agree on abortion remaining legal. As far as this “sexual irresponsibility” thing is concerned, I don’t think we’re ever going to agree. I would never say that you don’t have the right to try and persuade people that abortion is morally wrong, as long as it remains the choice of the woman.

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